• The four-set victory for the Panthers completed a critical 2-0 weekend for HPU leading into next weekend’s matches vs. Liberty and Radford
• Senior Kristin Heldt led HPU with a match-high 19 kills, while freshman Haley Barnes added 11 kills and a career-high 19 digs
• Junior libero Wavie Chin posted a match-high 25 digs; she averaged an impressive 6.7 digs/set on the weekend
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team earned a critical 3-1 victory over Gardner-Webb Saturday afternoon to complete a 2-0 weekend inside the Millis Center.
After dropping the opening set, the Panthers surged to take the final three sets of the match to earn their second win of the weekend. HPU is now 10-13 overall and 4-6 in the Big South. Gardner-Webb fell to 12-16 overall and 5-5 in the Big South.
“Winning two matches this weekend was huge, not only from a mental standpoint but from a standings standpoint,” head coach Jason Oliver said. “We needed to win these matches to build some momentum late in the season. The energy and effort we put into practice during these few weeks we’ve been struggling is finally paying off. It’s great to see from our team.”
HPU held significant advantages in hitting percentage (.228-.147), kills (60-50), assists (57-48) and digs (92-75) on the afternoon.
Senior Kristin Heldt continued her red-hot play of late and led the Panthers with a match-high 19 kills. The Frankfort, Ill., native hit .319 and also chipped in nine digs against GWU. She’s averaged a solid 5.0 kills/set over High Point’s last three matches.
Freshman Haley Barnes also played well for HPU, notching 11 kills to go along with a career-high 19 digs to post her second double-double in the past three matches.
“Haley Barnes had a great match – she was a mental rock for us and solidified our floor defense,” Oliver said. “She made plays when she had to and that really motivates our whole team. Kristin does the same thing. It’s a different dynamic when you have a senior and a freshman, and it was really neat to see those two play off each other like they did. It’s something that our team needs moving forward.”
Junior setter Gaby Mirand distributed a match-high 41 assists and registered 14 digs and three total blocks (two solo), while junior Wavie Chin chipped in 25 digs and seven assists on the back row for HPU. She averaged an impressive 6.7 digs/set over the weekend.
High Point and Gardner-Webb played a tight first set with the Runnin’ Bulldogs ultimately pulling out a 28-26 win. Senior Kristin Heldt had eight kills to pace the Panthers, hitting .438 for the set. Freshman Haley Barnes had eight digs in a set that saw HPU get 27 digs as a team.
“Gardner-Webb came out ready to play after a five-set match against Campbell last night. They really showed a lot of resilience and some heart,” Oliver said. “They put a lot of pressure on our serve-receive early. I thought our leadership really stepped up. We saw a lot of really good, long rallies in the middle of the second set, and because of that, we found a way to win some of those points and it gave us some great momentum.”
HPU came back to take the second set by a score of 25-21 to tie the match heading into the break. High Point built an early 11-3 lead in the second set before a 7-1 run by Gardner-Webb pulled the Runnin’ Bulldogs to within two at 12-10. High Point continued to lead by two, 23-21, late in the set when the Panthers rattled off two quick points to tie the match at one set apiece. Senior Chelsea Davis led a balanced HPU attack with five kills while Heldt and freshman Camryn Freiberg each had three.
The Panthers came out of the break with a 25-20 win in the third set to take a 2-1 lead for the match. Barnes and senior Katie Vincent had five kills each to lead the team with Heldt adding four kills. High Point out-hit Gardner-Webb, .308-.190 in the set and had 24 digs.
High Point controlled the fourth set from the beginning, opening a 16-5 lead on the way to a 25-16 win.
High Point continues its five-game home stand next weekend with matches against conference leaders Liberty and Radford. The Panthers will play Liberty in the Millis Center on Friday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m., then host Radford on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m.