HPU Volleyball Panthers downed by Highlanders in three sets

• Junior Haley Barnes paced the Panthers with 11 kills to go with eight digs in the match.
• Sophomore Molly Livingston made her presence felt in the middle with six blocks and seven kills while hitting .357.
• High Point will be back at home on Friday against Liberty at 7 p.m.

RADFORD, Va. – The High Point University volleyball team couldn’t recover from a slow start and fell to Radford, 3-0, in the Dedmon Center on Tuesday night.

The Panthers (9-5, 0-1) took an early lead in the first set, but the Highlanders (10-3, 1-0) posted a 22-6 run to win the set 25-13. Radford followed by taking the second set (25-23) before using a 5-0 run to close out the match with a 25-20 victory in the third frame.

“Obviously, we are disappointed in our performance and we didn’t play at the level that we expect from ourselves,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “We tried to compensate with a little more energy to work through it, but we didn’t play a good match and they made us pay for it. We try to play at a consistent level and, if we want to win the conference, we need to have high-level performances on a consistent basis. A night like tonight is what we want to identify and eliminate moving forward. It was a tough night for our group, but we’ll learn from it and we’ll try to come out with a significantly better performance on Friday.”

Junior Haley Barnes led the HPU offense with 11 kills while adding eight digs. Meanwhile, sophomore Molly Livingston chipped in with six blocks and seven kills while hitting at a .357 clip.

Defensively, sophomore Abby Broadstreet’s 10 digs paced the Purple & White. In total, High Point tallied 39 digs while the Highlanders posted 42. The home team also registered a 43-36 edge in kills on the night.

Seniors Megan Kennedy and Savannah Angel each racked up five kills while sophomores Katie Tylman and Jordan Hefner tallied three apiece.

The High Point setters – junior Carly Jimenez and freshman Jenna Smith – produced all 33 assists and combined for seven digs.

In the first set, two kills apiece from Kennedy and Tylman along with an ace from Barnes allowed High Point to grab a 7-3 lead. However, the Highlanders responded with a 22-6 run to earn a comeback win in the opening frame 25-13.

The home team kept the momentum early in the second set taking an 8-4 edge. But this time the Purple & White bounced back behind two kills from Livingston and an ace from Kennedy to even the score at 8-all.

From there, the teams alternated points (10-10) before Radford posted a 6-1 run to regain control (16-11). Hefner, then, tallied two kills and a block and Kennedy added a kill to pull HPU within one (23-22). But Radford was able to get the next two points and hold on to take the set 25-23.

Out of the intermission, Livingston provided a spark with a kill and a block as HPU built a 6-3 advantage. Later, Barnes’ 10th kill of the match gave the Panthers’ a six-point lead (16-10).

However, the Highlanders were again able to mount a 10-2 run to take a 20-18 advantage. Broadstreet answered with a kill and a block to tie the score at 20-20, but Radford scored the next five points to take the set 25-20.

HPU continues its busy week returning to the Millis Center on Friday night to host Liberty (7 p.m.) and then Saturday when it entertains UNC Asheville (4 p.m.).