HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team pulled out a thrilling five-set win over Coastal Carolina in the regular season finale on Saturday at the Millis Center. Seniors Maddie Simpson and Michelle Chakirelis combined for the game-winning block in the fifth set to secure a Panthers’ victory.
“That was the best volleyball we have played all season,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “Coastal Carolina played a phenomenal game. I am so proud that the character and hard work we pride ourselves on in this program was able to shine through. I am excited to see how this team takes these two wins in to the Big South Conference Tournament.”
With the win High Point finishes the regular season with a 15-14 overall record and a 9-5 mark in league play. Coastal Carolina finishes at 17-11 overall and 10-4 in the Big South.
The Panthers will be the No. 3 seed in the Big South Conference Tournament and will face No. 6 Winthrop on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Clinton, S.C.
Senior Maddie Simpson dished out 58 assists with nine digs and six blocks. Junior Chelsea Davis led the team with 19 kills and 12 digs and junior Kristin Heldt added a double-double with 17 kills and 10 digs. Redshirt-freshman Savannah Angel added 16 kills and six blocks.
The Panthers overcame a 7-1 deficit in the fifth set to come back and win, 20-18. Heldt tied the set for the first time 10-10, with a kill off the block. The final frame was tied seven more times and High Point had match point five times before pulling out the win. Freshman Megan Kennedy had a kill to put the Panthers ahead, 19-18 and sent Heldt back to the service line. The Chanticleers gave the ball to Gabriella Horvath but her attack was blocked by Chakirelis and Simpson for the win.
Horvath finished the match with 11 kills and Lian Bernett tallied 20 kills to lead CCU.
High Point opened the match with a 25-19 win in the first set. The Panthers out hit Coastal Carolina .222 to .114 in the frame, led by four kills by Davis. Heldt put down a kill to give High Point a 16-8 lead and force Coastal Carolina to use a timeout. CCU went on a five-point run to cut the lead to 16-13 but Chakirelis sided out the Panthers with a kill. HPU continued to build the lead to set point, 24-16, on a kill by Angel. The Chants fought off three set points before Davis ended the set with a kill for a 25-19 win.
Coastal Carolina pulled out the 25-23 win in set two. The Panthers led 23-22 on a kill by Katie Vincent but the Chanticleers scored the final three points of the frame. Bernett had two kills to bring up set point and Meghan Laffin ended the set with a kill.
The Panthers outhit Coastal Carolina .250 to .061 in the third set to win 25-20. Heldt had five kills on seven swings. High Point got to set point, 24-18, on a Bernett attack error. Horvath and Bernett had back-to-back kills to fight off two set points but Heldt finished the set with her 12th kill of the night. Momentum swung back in Coastal Carolina’s favor in set four as the Chants broke a 22-22 tie with a kill by Eszter Nagy to start a three-point run and win the set 25-22.
CCU carried that momentum in to set five, breaking open an early 7-1 lead. High Point was able to counter with a 9-3 lead and tie the frame 10-10. The Panthers hit .276 in the 20-18 fifth-set win.