CLINTON, S.C. – The High Point University volleyball team swept Winthrop on Thursday to advance to the semifinals of the Big South Conference Championship. Junior Chelsea Davis hit .407 with 14 kills and four blocks in the 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-18) victory. The Panthers will face the winner of Coastal Carolina vs. Presbyterian on Friday at 7 p.m.
“Winthrop hit the ball really well and we were able to play good defense and get in rhythm,” said head coach Jason Oliver. “Our block and floor defense was really good tonight. We found a way to win the first set which was a really tough battle and it set the tone for the rest of the match.”
Davis led all players with 14 kills while hitting .407 with four blocks, three solo. Junior Kristin Heldt hit .375 with 11 kills and a career-high six blocks. Senior Maddie Simpson dished out 30 assists and sophomore Annemarie Chin had a match-high 34 digs.
The Panthers advance to the semifinals where they will face either No. 2 Coastal Carolina or No. 7 Presbyterian College.
The Panthers jumped out to a 10-1 lead in the first set behind great serving from junior Katie Vincent. She served three aces in the run. High Point maintained the lead, taking a 20-13 advantage when Davis solo blocked Rachel Lenz. Lenz came back with a kill on the next play and sparked an 8-1 run by the Eagles. Irene Ojukwu briefly gave Winthrop the lead, 22-21, to cap the run. Davis answered with a kill to tie the set 22-22 and Heldt blocked Ojukwu to swing the lead back in High Point’s favor. Heldt’s second kill of the night was set point for the Panther, 25-23.
High Point outhit Winthrop .522 to -.052 in the second set on the way to a 25-13 victory. The Panthers sided out at 100 percent in the frame.
Winthrop took an early lead in the third set, 10-7, on three-straight Eagle kills. Freshman Savannah Angel had a kill and Heldt followed with two more to cut Winthrop’s lead to 11-10. The Panthers kept fighting back in to the set, taking a 14-13 lead when Vincent and Megan Kennedy blocked Ojukwu. HPU scored the next three points to lead 17-13 and never looked back, winning the set 25-18.
High Point hit .424 in the match with 12 team blocks. The Eagles hit .065 with just two blocks.
Angel finished the match with five kills and four blocks and Vincent added four kills and three blocks.