HPU Volleyball Comes Back For 3-2 Win Over Wofford

• Sophomore Haley Barnes tallied her third straight double-digit kill effort with 17 kills to go with 1o digs and 5 service aces.
• Junior Megan Kennedy posted a double-double of her own with a career high 21 digs and 14 kills.
• The Panthers will be back home for four games next week starting with Elon on Tuesday night in the Millis Center.

ATHENS, Ga. – Behind double-doubles from sophomore Haley Barnes and junior Megan Kennedy, the Panthers erased a 2-0 deficit to earn a 3-2- win over Wofford in Athens, Ga. on Saturday.

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HPU started slow dropping the first two sets before earning a dramatic 26-24 win in the third set. That win seemingly opened the floodgates for the Panthers who played lights out in the final two sets to win those by a combined 40-26.

“We showed a lot of grit and that’s what it took to win tonight,” head coach Jason Oliver said. “In the first two sets we didn’t play the way we needed to, but then we found a way to persevere in the end. I give Wofford a lot of credit. They had a couple of players that gave us a hard time, but it was good to see us adjust.”

Four Panthers finished the match in double-digits in kills led by Barnes’ 17. The Neenah, Wis. native also tallied 10 digs and five aces in the match. Kennedy’s double-double featured a career-high 21 digs and 14 kills. Sophomore Camryn Freiberg tallied 10 kills with four coming in the deciding fifth set. Meanwhile, freshman Abby Broadstreet tallied 11 kills in her third collegiate match.

Senior Annemarie Chin continued her solid defensive play with 22 digs while sophomore Carly Jimenez racked up 29 assists and 11 digs. Senior Gabi Mirand just missed being the fourth Panther with 10 digs tallying nine digs and 26 assists. In the middle, freshman Jordan Hefner registered four kills and 1.5 blocks and junior Savannah Angel posted four kills and two solo blocks.

“It was good to see Savannah get out there and play with confidence,” Oliver said. “Haley, Camryn and Megan held it together for us and started making plays and allowed us to prove that we are a tough team.”

The Purple & White earned an 85-71 advantage in digs and tallied 11 aces to Wofford’s 3. The squad finished with a .216 hitting percentage after attacking at .359 and .370 in the final two sets.

The Terriers jumped out to a 16-6 lead in the first set connecting on 11-of-18 attack attempts with just one error. Bolstered by powerful kills by Barnes and Freiberg and an ace from freshman Jordan Hefner the Panthers clawed back within five at 20-15. However, the Purple & White couldn’t get any closer and dropped the set 25-18.

HPU nabbed an early 5-4 lead to open the second frame behind kills from junior Megan Kennedy and Barnes before Wofford responded with a 5-0 run (8-5). A big kill and block from junior Savannah Angel sparked a comeback for HPU and tied to score at 10-10. However, the Terriers answered with a 3-0 run to regain a 3-point advantage (13-10).

From there Wofford’s lead swelled to 17-11 before Barnes’ seventh kill of the match cut the lead down to two (21-19). The lead dropped to one as Hefner and Freiberg tallied a block and Kennedy came up with another kill, but the comeback fell just short as Wofford took a the set 25-23.

After the break, the Terriers came out and grabbed a 9-3 lead behind four kills and two blocks. However, the Panthers wouldn’t go away and after Barnes provided an ace and Kennedy posted a huge block they trailed by just two (11-9). The Purple & White continued to hang tough and pulled within one at 14-13 on an attack error by Wofford.

After the team’s alternated points, Kennedy evened the score with a cross-court kill (17-17). But Wofford ran off three straight points to grab a 20-17 advantage. The Panthers got a kill from freshman Abby Broadstreet and an ace from junior Greta Griswold to make it 20-19. Kennedy, then, knotted the score at 22-22 with her second ace of the match.

The Purple & White surged ahead 25-24 when Wofford’s attack sailed long and Angel ended it with a block (26-24).

In the fourth set, two early kills from Freiberg put the Panthers up 5-2. The HPU lead swelled to six at 11-5 on a kill by Hefner. The Terriers cut the deficit to four (12-8), but the Panthers stretched their lead out to seven on Broadstreet’s seventh kill (17-10). Mirand followed with her first kill to up the lead to 19-11. From there, the Panthers were able to close out the set on Barnes’ 16th kill of the match.

Freiberg paced HPU out to a 5-3 lead in the fifth set with a couple of early kills. The lead stretched out to four at 9-5 after an attack error by Wofford. The Terriers wouldn’t go quietly and scored 2-of-3 points to make it 10-7, but Kennedy had the answer with a kill off the block to give HPU a 12-7 lead.

Wofford climbed back into the set (13-10) before two more kills by Freiberg completed the dramatic comeback for HPU (15-10).

The Panthers return to the Millis Center for their home opener on Tuesday against Elon before hosting the HPU Classic sponsored by Hampton Inn on Sept. 4-5 as South Carolina State, Loyola (Md.) and Georgia State visit the Triad.