COLUMBIA, S.C. – The High Point University volleyball team lost to South Carolina in the final match of the Gamecock Invitational on Saturday in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks swept HPU (25-18, 25-17, 25-21).
“Overall, it was a very good first weekend and I am happy with our performance,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “South Carolina stressed us just enough to make some costly errors. This was a good match to show us where we are and where we need to be to compete with the best teams. We know a lot about what we need to improve after today.”
Junior Kristin Heldt posted a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Junior Chelsea Davis added six kills and six digs and sophomore Annemarie Chin came up with 11 digs. Senior Maddie Simpson finished the match with 19 assists, five kills, five aces and five digs.
Kellie McNeil and Dessaa Legros tallied eight kills each for the Gamecocks and McNeil dished out 25 assists.
High Point improved each set against South Carolina but it wasn’t enough to hold off the Gamecocks who spread the ball around with seven girls registering a kill. In the first set, South Carolina took a quick 10-5 lead to force an HPU timeout. The Panther got within three points, 12-9, but couldn’t make a run, losing the set 25-18.
South Carolina outhit High Point .370 to .067 in the second set and sided out on 10-of-18 chances. Heldt had five of her 12 kills in the second set.
HPU started to figure things out in the third set, trailing by one, 21-20 on a block by Davis and junior Katie Vincent. Juliette Thevenin put down her seventh kill of the game to push the lead back to two and give South Carolina the momentum to finish the match, 25-21.
Vincent finished the match with four kills and three blocks.
The Panthers travel to Cleveland, Ohio next weekend for a tournament at Cleveland State. Along with the tournament host, HPU will face UC Irvine and IPFW.