Panthers Volleyball Host HPU Classic In Millis This Weekend

HIGH POINT, N.C. – On the heels of consecutive five-set victories, the High Point University volleyball team hosts the HPU Classic sponsored by the Hampton Inn on Sept. 4-5 in the Millis Center.

The Panthers (2-2) will welcome South Carolina State, Loyola (Md.) and Georgia State on the weekend in a 6-game tournament. Play opens up when the Purple & White takes on the Bulldogs at 10:30 a.m.

Tournament Schedule:
Fri., 10:30 a.m. South Carolina State vs. High Point – Live Stream
Fri., 12:30 p.m. Loyola (Md.) vs. Georgia State

Fri., 5:00 p.m. Loyola (Md.) vs. High Point – Live Stream
Fri., 7:00 p.m. Georgia State vs. South Carolina State

Sat., 1:00 p.m. South Carolina State vs. Loyola (Md.)

Sat., 4:00 p.m. Georgia State vs. High Point – Live Stream

Last Time Out:
The Panthers earned a hard-fought victory in 5 sets over Elon in the squad’s first home match of the season on Tuesday night. The two teams went back and forth in the first three sets with the Phoenix taking the first and third and the Panthers taking the second.

However, behind sophomore Haley Barnes and freshman Molly Livingston, the Purple & White cruised to a 25-12 win in set four before building a 14-9 lead in the fifth set. Elon, then, stormed back to knot the score at 14-14 before kills by sophomore Camryn Freiberg and junior Megan Kennedy ended the match.

Barnes (14 kills, 8 digs) and Livingston (11 kills, .667 attack percentage) paced the offense while senior Annemarie Chin (26 digs) led the defense. HPU registered a +17 margin (60-43) in kills and a +16 margin (57-41) in digs to garner the win.

Scouting the Bulldogs:
South Carolina State (0-0) will be playing their first match of the season on Friday morning against the Panthers. The team returns 5-of-6 attackers that posted more than 1.00 kill per set last season including senior Marissa Lawrence who led the squad with 3.06 kills per set.

Defensively, redshirt-sophomore Tyler Ockleberry is back after tallying 3.43 digs per set a season ago. Likewise, the team’s top blocker – sophomore Kirby Anderson – is looking to improve on her freshman campaign that saw her notch 1.04 blocks per set.

Scouting the Greyhounds:
Loyola (Md.) (1-3) opened its season in the Robert Morris Tournament on Aug. 29-30 dropping their first two matches 3-1 to UMBC and Robert Morris before losing in straight sets to Canisius. On Tuesday, the team returned home and bested Howard 3-0 for its first win of 2015.

Sophomores Kacey Kazalas (3.29 kills/set) and Molly Cichosz (2.79 kills/set) pace the Greyhounds’ attack. Another underclassman – freshman Molly Werts – leads the team with 9.23 assists per set. On the defensive side of the net, look for junior Micah Duzey (3.57 digs/set) and freshman Haley Puddy (0.93 blocks/set) to make an impact.

Scouting the Panthers:
Georgia State (0-3) dropped back-to-back 5-setters to Western Carolina and Fresno State before losing in straight sets to Murray State.

When the ball is on GSU’s side of the net keep an eye on seniors Eliza Zachary (3.08 kills/set) and Deidra Bohannon (2.54 kills/set). Another senior, Natalia Nieto is the squad’s distributor with 9.62 assists per set. The senior-laden team relies heavily on senior Gabby Serafin (4.15 digs/set) and Zachary (1.00 blocks/set) to bolster the team’s defense.

Panther Notes:
• After the win over Elon, head coach Jason Oliver is sitting at 99 career wins as the head coach at High Point University.
• Senior Wavie Chin is just eight digs away from becoming the 13th Panther to reach 1,000 digs since the program joined Division I.
• Senior Annemarie Chin is second in the Big South with 5.06 digs per set in the team’s first four matches.
• Sophomore Haley Barnes is fifth in the conference with 3.25 kills per set and has led the team in kills in all four matches this season.
• Freshman Molly Livingston’s .667 hitting percentage versus Elon was the highest by any Panther with at least 10 kills since Courtney Johnk posted a .708 percentage on Sept. 11, 2012.
• HPU is 2-0 in 5-set matches this season. Last year the team went 2-7 in such contests.

Next Up:
The Panthers will take the short trip to UNCG for an intra-Triad battle with the Spartans on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. HPU will then return to the Millis Center for another tournament the following weekend (Sept. 11-12). The Panther Invitational sponsored by the Hampton Inn will feature contests with Davidson, Marshall and Wake Forest.