HPU volleyball completes sweep at Gardner-Webb

• The Panthers held a 45-30 edge in kills and hit .230 for the match
• Haley Barnes (12k, 17d) and Megan Kennedy (11k, 17d) notched double-doubles for the Purple & White
• HPU has won 16 of its last 20 Big South matches dating back to last season

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team limited Gardner-Webb to a .094 hitting performance en route to a 3-0 sweep of the Runnin’ Bulldogs Friday night in Paul Porter Arena.

The Panthers overcame a strong Gardner-Webb effort in the first two sets to claim 25-22 and 25-21 victories, before racing past the Runnin’ Bulldogs, 25-13, in the third frame.

With the victory, HPU moves to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in Big South play while the Runnin’ Bulldogs fall to 10-11 (1-6). The Panthers have now won 16 of their past 20 Big South contests dating back to last season.

“After being off for two weeks, I felt we came out a little slow and Gardner-Webb out-competed us early,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “Our defense and offense continued to improve as the match went on, and we played a really clean but aggressive third set to close out the match. It was great to see a lot of players contribute and we’re always happy to get a conference win on the road.”

Behind the outstanding offensive effort in the third set, the Panthers enjoyed a 45-30 edge in kills for the match and hit .230 as a club. Gardner-Webb hit just .094 as a unit, marking the lowest hitting percentage allowed by the Purple & White since a Sept. 3 win over Youngstown State.

HPU also held advantages in digs (60-52) and services aces (4-2) on the night.

The Panthers put together a balanced effort on both sides of the floor, led by a pair of talented outside hitters.

Junior Haley Barnes posted her ninth double-double of the season with 12 kills and 17 digs, while senior Megan Kennedy added 11 kills, hit .296 and notched a career-best 17 digs for the Purple & White.

Redshirt-senior Savannah Angel chipped in seven kills and hit .500 on the night, while sophomore libero Amy Pilat led the High Point back row with 14 digs.

Freshman setter Hannah Smith distributed 20 assists and landed a pair of service aces and fellow setter Carly Jimenez added 19 assists and four digs.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the opening frame, but HPU responded with a strong hitting effort to claim six of the next seven points and tie the score up at 8-8.

After GWU went ahead, 13-10, a 5-0 HPU run moved the Panthers in front 15-13. With the score tied at 19-19, HPU went on a 4-1 spurt to claim set point (24-20) and went on to win the frame, 25-22.

Gardner-Webb again held an early lead in the second set (9-7), but High Point once again responded with a run – this time of the 4-0 variety – to go up 11-9. The Panthers remained in front by two (15-13) on a block from Jordan Hefner and Katie Tylman, and went up four (17-13) after a Barnes service ace.

The Runnin’ Bulldogs pulled within three at 21-18, but the Panthers held firm and punctuated the set with a Barnes kill to take it, 25-21.

The Panthers rocketed out of the break to take a 9-4 lead early in the third set. Gardner-Webb cut the edge to three (9-6), but from there, High Point scored seven of the next 10 points to build a comfortable 17-10 advantage. The Panthers cruised to a 25-13 third set win behind a sizzling .471 hitting percentage.

HPU wraps up its weekend road swing Saturday at 4 p.m. when the Panthers play at UNC Asheville. The Purple & White won the first meeting this season, claiming a 3-0 sweep at the Millis Center on Sept. 24.