From the beach to the mountains: Hoggard products impress at Western Carolina, Appalachian State

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From the beach to the mountains, former players from the Wilmington area have saturated a pair of mid-major Division I athletic programs in the western part of the state and making big contributions to the success of their teams this fall.

The Western Carolina women’s soccer team has three local players from Hoggard High School on the roster. Sophomore Sayres McKenna is in position to earn an All-Conference selection after an impressive run through the season and into the SoCon Soccer Championship.

Sayres McKenna has made her mark on Western Carolina soccer following an impressive sophomore season. Photo courtesy- Western Carolina Athletics.
Sayres McKenna has made her mark on Western Carolina soccer following an impressive sophomore season. (Photo courtesy- Western Carolina Athletics.)

McKenna notched her third straight goal during the opening round of the tournament in a double-overtime result against Wofford when she scored the first goal of the game for Western Carolina. 

McKenna finished with a season-high six tallies this year, with a team-best 18 points. She was a SoCon All-Freshman performer in her rookie season.

Her six tallies ranked sixth in the Southern Conference.  McKenna’s 18th points ranked 12th in the Western Carolina record books for points in a single season. For her career, she has 29 points, positioned 16th in program history.

Freshman midfielder Emma Haywood was a fierce competitor for the Vikings as a two-sport athlete during her high school days and the first-year player for Western Carolina made a huge impact during last week’s result against Wofford in the opening round of the league tournament.  Haywood scored the golden goal in extra time to send the Catamounts to the second round, ultimately falling 2-1 in the quarterfinals to East Tennessee State. The goal was Haywood’s second score of the season.

Junior Alexa Frankeny rounds out the list of Hoggard alums on the roster for Western Carolina women’s soccer. Frankeny doesn’t light up the stat sheet due to her position along the back line, but started 19-of-20 games for the Catamounts in her third season.

Cassidy Stephenson. Photo courtesy- Appalachian State Athletics.
Cassidy Stephenson. (Photo courtesy- Appalachian State Athletics.)

On the volleyball court this fall, Appalachian State and Western Carolina have struggled this fall, but former teammates Cassidy Stephenson and Alyssa Zupan both continue to work hard heading into the final few weeks of the regular season.

Stephenson is wrapping up her junior year for the Mountaineers, while Zupan is second on the Catamounts with 177 kills in 90 sets played.

Sophomore Julia Buehler is also gearing up for her second year as part of the Appalachian State women’s basketball team.

Buehler earned a spot on the roster last year as a walk-on after originally committing to play lacrosse at Gardner-Webb. She played in seven games during her first season with the Mountaineers and stepped onto the court for the first time collegiately against Alabama (11/16/15).

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