LYNCHBURG, VA – The High Point University volleyball team pulled out a decisive 15-7 win in the fifth set to beat Liberty 3-2 (25-20, 17-25, 25-17, 14-25, 15-7) on Friday at the Vines Center in Lynchburg, Va. Juniors Chelsea Davis and Kristin Heldt each posted a double-double in the Big South road win.
“This was a great win for our program,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “We found a way late in the match when we weren’t at our best to pull out a win. Chelsea Davis and Kristin Heldt stepped up like seniors and Maddie Simpson and Michelle Chakirelis led on every play. We need that type of effort combined with a higher level of execution in order to beat Radford tomorrow.”
Davis led the Panthers with 17 kills, 12 digs, three aces and three solo blocks. Heldt added 15 kills, 16 digs and two blocks. Simpson had 40 assists and 16 digs for HPU’s third double-double of the night. Chakirelis hit .462 with seven kills and four blocks.
With the win High Point improves to 13-13 overall and 7-4 in league games. Liberty drops to 7-17 overall and 6-5 in the Big South.
The win marks HPU’s first victory at the Vines Center since 2008.
High Point took the first set, scoring the final three points of the set. Davis had a kill to give the Panthers a 23-20 lead and HPU got set point on an attack error by Melissa Racz. Simpson went back to Davis for the final kill of the set.
The second set was tied 10-10 when Caroline Douglas put the Flames ahead with a kill that sparked a 12-2 run. With Liberty ahead 22-12, Heldt sided out the Panthers with a kill. Three-straight Liberty attack errors got HPU back in the set, trailing 22-16. Another kill for Heldt cut the deficit to five, 22-17 but Liberty scored the final three points of the frame to win 25-17 and tie the match 1-1.
The teams traded wins in the third and fourth sets to keep the match tied 2-2. High Point hit .298 with 16 kills to win the third set 25-17. Liberty evened the match with a 25-14 win in set four.
Heldt put down a kill to break a 3-3 tie in the fifth set. After the kill Davis went back to the service line and carried HPU on an 8-0 run to give the Panthers an 11-3 lead. Liberty finally sided out, but the Panthers easily held on for the 15-7 win.
Sophomore Annemarie Chin tallied 26 digs in the win and junior Katie Vincent added eight kills, four blocks and two aces.
Douglas led Liberty with 14 kills and Jade Craycraft 32 assists, 10 kills and 13 digs.
High Point wraps up a five-game road trip on Saturday with a 2 p.m. match at Radford. The Highlanders topped HPU in five sets earlier this season at the Millis Center.