HPU Volleyball’s postseason run ends in 3-0 setback at UNC

Posted by Press Release on December 2, 2016 at 10:48 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

• Sophomore Jordan Hefner led the way for the Purple & White with five kills and seven blocks while hitting at a .444 clip
• Sophomore Molly Livingston chipped in with five kills, five blocks and two aces in the match.
• High Point earned a 12-4 edge in blocks on the night.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team fell in three sets to No. 7 North Carolina on Friday night in Carmichael Arena in the Purple & White’s second ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The Panthers (23-10) played catch-up throughout the night as the Tar Heels (28-3) built early leads in each of the three sets. Thanks to those fast starts, UNC was able to pull away late in the first and second sets (25-13 and 25-12) before HPU pushed the Tar Heels to the brink in the third falling 25-23.

“”First of all, it was just a great experience for our team as far as the direction that we want to continue to go” head coach Tom Mendoza said of HPU’s first NCAA Tournament game since 2010. “With our program, we are trying to build to where we are in this position every year and hopefully this experience will allow us to continue that. And I think it shows that we have the pieces, it’s just a matter of getting comfortable in the situation. It was disappointing in the first two sets because we just knew that we were not representing who we actually were and I thought that was what was good about the third set; that we were showing the things that we were capable of doing and that we have been able to do for stretches of this year.”

Sophomore Jordan Hefner led the Panthers with five kills and seven blocks while hitting at a .444 clip on the night. Joining Hefner in the middle, sophomore Molly Livingston added five kills, five blocks and two aces on the night.

From the back row, senior Megan Kennedy recorded 15 digs as the Purple & White tallied 36 digs in the match.

Rounding out the attack for the Panthers, sophomore Katie Tylman registered five kills while junior Haley Barnes tallied four and redshirt-senior Savannah Angel added two kills and three blocks.

High Point’s offense was held down in the first two sets, but racked up a .233 attack percentage in the final set to keep it close.

The Tar Heels vaulted out to a 10-4 lead before Hefner posted a kill and Barnes followed with an ace to make it 10-6. However, UNC responded with a 15-7 run to close out the set 25-13.

In the second set, Hefner got it going with three kills and two blocks, but despite the middle blocker’s output the Tar Heels built a 19-11 lead. Once again, North Carolina was able to close the set strong with a 25-12 victory.

After the intermission, UNC grabbed 8-4 edge, however this time the Panthers refused to go quietly. Two blocks followed by a kill from Tylman made it 10-8 before the Tar Heels scored the next two to regain a four-point advantage (12-8).

But again HPU fought back as Angel posted two kills before Livingston added two aces to make it 13-12. From there, the Panthers stayed within two points until a block gave UNC a 20-17 lead.

The Panthers continued to show their fight as Livingston sandwiched kills around an ace from sophomore Abby Broadstreet to even the score at 20-all.

What They Said:
Haley Barnes on ending the season
“However our season wrapped up, it wrapped up, but we were just excited to come out and play the game we love together.”

Haley Barnes on offseason
“I’m excited I think we have a lot of potential. I think we kind of hit that first mark. Ever since I was a freshman, our goal was to win a conference tournament and so we did that this year. That was great, and I think we can start setting that bar a little bit higher and a little bit higher, keep reaching and reaching and building on this program. With everything that’s been set up to my coming here and Jordan (Hefner)’s coming here, now we can keep building on that and keep pushing and make High Point a team people don’t want to play with anymore.”

Jordan Hefner on offseason
“Especially with having a new coach this year, I’m really excited because he’s already taught us so much that I can’t wait to see what he’s going to teach us to help us get past the first round next year.”

Jordan Hefner on what was the difference in the third set:
“Our energy definitely changed the game for us, because when we are excited, and when we are calm and collected, and just playing our game, we can do anything that we want. So, Carolina was a great team to play against and I think coming out in that third set and having that energy helped us fight and keep up with them.

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