HPU Volleyball bounces back with 3-1 triumph at Wake Forest

• Sophomore Molly Livingston posted an efficient outing with 10 kills and three aces while hitting at a .533 clip.
• Junior Haley Barnes is one kill shy of 800 for her career after tallying 10 in the match.
• The win marks the second of the year for High Point over an ACC foe – the first time since 2012.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – For the second straight match the High Point University volleyball team lost a first-set lead, but this time it recovered to take the next three sets to down Wake Forest in the Black & Gold Invitational on Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers (8-4) allowed a 7-0 run as the Demon Deacons (3-7) erased a 22-18 deficit to win the first set 25-22. However, behind a balanced offense that boasted six players with at least five kills, HPU won the next three sets (25-19, 25-17 and 25-17) to earn the victory.

The win is High Point’s second against an ACC foe this season – both coming on the road. It’s the first time the program has won two matches against ACC opponents since beating Virginia Tech and Wake Forest in the Millis Center in 2012.

The multifaceted Purple & White offense compiled a .267 attack percentage in the match while the defense held the Demon Deacons to a .117 clip thanks to 10 blocks.

Leading the charge on offense were sophomore Molly Livingston and junior Haley Barnes as both tallied double-digit kills. Livingston led the team with 10 kills while hitting .533 and racking up three aces. Meanwhile, Barnes came up one kill shy of 800 for her career with 10 kills in the match.

On the defensive side, junior Amy Pilat tallied a game-high 15 digs as the Panthers earned a 40-37 edge in digs.

At the net, sophomore Jordan Hefner upped her career high in blocks for a second straight match with eight to go with five kills. Fellow sophomore Katie Tylman also registered a career high in blocks with six to go with eight kills

The HPU senior hitters – Savannah Angel and Megan Kennedy – rounded out the balanced attack. Angel provided five kills (.714) as Kennedy posted nine kills and eight digs.

From the setter spot junior Carly Jimenez (17 assists) and freshman Jenna Smith (21 assists) combined for 38 of the Panthers’ 43 assists.

Wake Forest jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the opening frame, but an ace from Kennedy ignited the Panthers as HPU went on a 14-5 run to take a 17-15 edge. The Demon Deacons fought right back to even the score at 18-18 before a kill and an ace from Livingston sparked a 4-0 run (22-18).

However, the Panthers couldn’t hold on as Wake Forest finished the set on a 7-0 run to take a 25-22 victory.

Barnes then gave the Purple & White momentum early in the second set serving two aces during an early 6-0 run (7-1). From there, the HPU lead swelled to as many as eight at 15-7 behind three kills by Livingston.

But once again the home team wouldn’t go quietly fighting within three on multiple occasions. However, kills from the HPU veterans – Kennedy, Angel and Barnes – closed the frame to give HPU a 25-19 win.

After the break it was Tylman’s turn to kick-start the Panthers with a kill and a block assist as HPU grabbed a 4-1 lead. For the remainder of the set Wake Forest couldn’t get any closer than two (7-5) as High Point claimed the frame by a score a of 25-17.

The fourth set started as a back-and-forth affair as Wake Forest took a 15-14 advantage midway through the frame. But two kills by Livingston followed two Demon Deacon errors as HPU took an 18-16 lead.

From there, Barnes added two kills before Hefner added two block assists to allow the Panthers to close out the match with a 25-18 victory.

The Purple & White are right back on the Summit School floor at 5 p.m. against Wofford with a chance to claim a share of the tournament crown.