AUBURN, Ala. – The High Point University volleyball team won its fourth straight match with a 3-2 win over Jacksonville State on Friday at Auburn. The Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game and held off the Gamecocks with a 15-5 win in the fifth set. HPU had four attackers with double-digit kills.
High Point improves to 4-1 with the 3-2 (25-22, 25-13, 23-25, 25-27, 15-5) win. HPU is 3-0 in five-set matches this season.
Sophomore Chelsea Davis had a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. She also posted five blocks including two solo blocks in the fifth set. Sophomore Kristin Heldt led the team with 14 kills and seniors Courtney Johnk and Jamie McDonald added 13 and 12 kills, respectively.
“When it mattered the team got it done,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “We had stretches of great focus and played at a high level at times. We will work on being more consistent and maintaining that level of play at all times but it has been great to see this team succeed in clutch situations this so far this season.”
After HPU let an early 2-0 lead slip away, the Panthers cruised through the fifth set. The Panthers put down five kills and had five blocks to score 10 of their 15 points in the final frame. The five kills came from five different HPU players.
The Panther trailed through much of the first set before Heldt solo blocked an attack by Kaley Sierawski to tie the score, 21-21, and Caity Farus put down a kill to give HPU their first lead of the set. Two errors by Jacksonville State and two more kills by Farus won the set for High Point, 25-22. Farus had five kills on six attempts in the first frame.
HPU rolled through the second set with a 25-13 win over the Gamecocks. HPU had 16 kills with just one attack error in the frame, outhitting Jacksonville State .484 to .161. Redshirt-sophomore Maddie Simpson dished out 13 assists, spreading the ball around for her attackers. In the set Heldt had six kills, McDonald had four and Davis and Johnk added three each.
Jacksonville State took a brief 18-16 lead in the third set. HPU scored four straight points to retake the lead, 20-18. The Gamecocks made three straight errors and Johnk capped the run with her ninth kill of the match. The frame stayed tight, with ties at 22-22 and 23-23. Back-to-back HPU attack errors won the match for JSU 25-23 and extended the match to a fourth set.
High Point outhit Jacksonville State in the fourth set but three late errors allowed the Gamecocks to pull out a 27-25 win and force a fifth set. Farus and Simpson put up a block on JSU’s Kelsey Anderson to tie the set 24-24. Jacksonville State won the set on a pair of HPU errors and a service ace, 27-25.
The Panthers will be back on the court this evening against the tournament host, Auburn. The match will begin at 8 p.m.