BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team lost to UNC Asheville in the first round of the Big South Conference Tournament hosted by Gardner-Webb on Thursday in Boiling Springs, N.C. The Panthers held off a sweep with a come-from-behind win in set three but the Bulldogs won set four to take the match 3-1.
“All the credit goes to Asheville,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “They came out with a great crowd and a ton of support. We threw everything we had at them but couldn’t make anything work. They sided out really well and it was a major difference in the match”
Sophomore Kristin Heldt led the team with 14 kills, including seven in HPU’s third-set win. Sophomore Chelsea Davis had a double-double with 12 kills and 17 digs. She also had two solo blocks. Redshirt-sophomore Maddie Simpson had 41 assists and 19 digs in the loss.
Christine Lakatos led UNC Asheville with 16 kills. Holly Shelton had 13 kills and nine digs for the Bulldogs while Rachel Wells recorded a match-high 29 digs.
High Point led set one as late as 22-21 on a kill by Jamie McDonald. UNC Asheville called timeout after the point and scored four straight after the break to win the first frame 25-22. Holly Shelton and Meredith Foster had the final two kills for the Bulldogs. Michelle Chakirelis, Davis and McDonald had four kills each in the frame.
UNC Asheville took a 19-18 lead in set two on a Courtney Johnk service error. The Bulldogs held on the lead for the remainder of the set to win 25-22. Christine Lakatos had five kills on 11 swings for Asheville in the set while High Point hit .116 as a team.
Coach Oliver called a timeout with HPU trailing Asheville 15-11 in the third set. The Panthers came out of the break with a new intensity pushing back to tie the set 19-19 on a kill by Heldt. The teams traded points to a 21-21 tie. Johnk put down a kill to give the Panthers a 22-21 lead and High Point held on to win the set 25-22. Heldt has seven kills in the frame.
Asheville limited HPU to eight kills in the fourth set to win 25-16. UNCA hit .118 in the frame while the Panthers hit -.024.
McDonald finished the night with 10 kills and two blocks and Johnk added nine kills and two blocks.
High Point finished the season with a 20-11 overall record and a 9-5 record in Big South Conference games.