HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team hits the road for its season-opening tournament at the University of Georgia on Friday and Saturday.
HPU opens play on Friday at 4 p.m. against Memphis before taking on host Georgia (1 p.m.) and Wofford (4 p.m.) on Saturday. The contest with the Bulldogs will be streamed on SEC Network Plus through WatchESPN.
The Panthers enter the season with four returning starters off of last season’s team that compiled a 13-16 record and a semifinal appearance in the Big South Tournament.
Scouting the Tigers:
Memphis is coming off a 23-11 record in 2014 and returns three starters from that squad. Sophomore Lauren Agomuo is the team’s top returning attacker with 2.90 kills per set. Meanwhile, redshirt-senior setter Veronica Zimmerman is the Tigers’ leading returner in assists (10.50 assists/set) and total blocks (57).
Defensively, Memphis lost its top-2 players in terms of digs last season and are led by Zimmerman (2.71 digs/set) and Agomuo (2.32 digs/set). Redshirt-senior Lindsey Purvis is the top returning server and figures to step in at the libero spot.
Scouting the Bulldogs:
After posting a 14-17 record in 2014, Georgia opens the season at home where it posted a 9-7 mark. Redshirt-senior Jasmine Eatmon is the squad’s top returner in kills (2.05 kills/set) and second in blocks (79) last fall. Another middle blocker, redshirt-junior Desiree McCray racked up 147 blocks in 2014.
While Georgia has plenty of experience in the middle, the Bulldogs lost their top-3 players in terms of digs. Sophomore Cassidy Anderson is the squad’s top returner with only 1.12 digs per set a season ago.
Scouting the Terriers:
Wofford is returning all but one starter from a team that went 13-22 last season. Sophomore Bella Santoro is coming off a freshman campaign in which she tallied 3.28 kills and 2.60 digs per set. Fellow sophomore Molly Mayo posted an impressive 10.78 assists per set in her first collegiate campaign.
Both middle blockers – sophomore Danni Densford and senior Liz Buterbaugh – are back after combining for 168 blocks last season. The squad also returns senior libero Jessica Graham who led the team with 4.49 digs per set last year.
• Head coach Jason Oliver opens his seventh season with 97 coaching wins at High Point University and with three more wins he will become the third HPU coach to reach 100 wins.
• Senior Wavie Chin needs just 13 digs to join her sister Annemarie Chin in HPU’s 1,000-career dig club. The two have combined for over 2,200 digs in the last three seasons.
• The Panthers opened the 2014 season going 2-1 in the Duke Tournament.
• Sophomore Camryn Freiberg came out of the gates hot last season posting a double-double (11 kills and 10 blocks) in 2014’s season-opener.
Next Time Out:
The Panthers will come back home on Tuesday, Sept. 1 when they host Elon in the Millis Center. The Purple & White will then host the HPU Classic sponsored by the Hampton Inn on Sept. 4-5 against South Carolina State, Loyola (Md.) and Georgia State.