HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team opened the HPU Classic in style with a 3-0 triumph over South Carolina State in the Millis Center on Friday morning.
The win gave head coach Jason Oliver his 100th victory as the head coach at High Point. He is the program’s third coach to reach 100 career wins joining Chad Esposite (2003-08) and Nancy Little (1974-84).
“Reaching 100 wins is a big moment for any coach,” Oliver said. “It goes back to the character of the university and of our team and we pride ourselves on being hardworking and dedicated. That comes down from our President Nido Qubein and our athletic director Dan Hauser. Looking back over these past seven years, it’s been amazing.”
Coming into the game, Oliver and the Panthers (3-2) knew serving would be the key to knocking off the Bulldogs (0-1) and junior Greta Griswold did just that. The junior sparked three big runs throughout the game with her serving, including the 8-0 run that ended the match.
“We knew serving would be important in this match,” Oliver said. “We needed to get South Carolina State out of their system, so we needed to serve well. We did that in the first set, but Greta was definitely that for us in the second and third sets.”
Freshman Abby Broadstreet led a diverse offensive attack with nine kills. Five other Panthers tallied at least four kills with junior Megan Kennedy registering seven kills while freshman Molly Livingston had 6 kills.
In the middle, freshman Jordan Hefner posted five kills and four blocks and redshirt-junior Savannah Angel tallied four kills. Senior Annemarie Chin led the team with 14 digs. HPU earned a +11 advantage in digs and a +18 margin in kills on the morning.
Sophomore Carly Jimenez and senior Gabi Mirand split time at setter and combined for 25 assists. Meanwhile, Griswold racked up four service aces and three digs.
Two kills apiece from Angel and sophomore Camryn Freiberg paced the Panthers out to a 15-8 lead in the opening set and forced a timeout for the Bulldogs. From there, HPU’s lead grew to eight (21-13) when Livingston posted her second kill of the morning. Jimenez followed up kills by Livingston and Freiberg with an ace to close out the 25-16 win in the set.
The second frame was tied 6-6 in the early going before the Panthers went on a 12-2 run bolstered by junior Greta Griswold’s serving (18-8). Four kills from Broadstreet allowed the Panthers to close out the set 25-10 and take a 2-0 lead heading into the break.
South Carolina State came out of the break hot and built a 5-4 lead over HPU. However, the Panthers responded took a 16-10 lead behind three kills from Livingston and two from Broadstreet. The Bulldogs pulled back within two (18-16) before Griswold came in and served eight straight points – including two aces – to close out the match.
The Purple & White will be back in action for their second game of the day at 5:00 p.m. against Loyola (Md.). The squad will wrap up play in the HPU Classic on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against Georgia State.