• Junior Molly Livingston paced the Panthers with seven kills, five blocks and a .462 attack percentage.
• Junior Katie Tylman posted six kills and five blocks while boasting a .357 hitting percentage.
• High Point (1-1) will take on Dayton in both teams’ final game of the NIU Express Holiday Inn Invitational on Saturday at 1 p.m.
DeKALB, ILL. – The High Point University volleyball team dropped a three-set match to Cal Poly on Friday night at the NIU Express Holiday Invitational.
The Mustangs (2-0) built an early lead in the first set before going on to win 25-20 and followed that by edging the Panthers (1-1) in the second, 27-25. Then, the third and final set played out like the first with Cal Poly building an early lead only to see the Purple & White battle back before closing out a 25-19 win.
“Cal Poly is a very strong team that received first-place votes in the Big West with Hawaii and I felt we went toe-to-toe with them throughout the match,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “We learned a lot from this match on what we need to improve to be able to beat teams of this level. I liked our offensive parity and I liked how we competed for most stretches of the match. We are capable of playing cleaner with our first contact both serving and passing. We will work to improve in those areas tomorrow against Dayton, who is picked to win the A-10 this season.”
Junior Molly Livingston led the way again for HPU tallying seven kills (.462) and five blocks to move her to ninth in High Point D-I era with 212 career blocks. Similarly, junior Katie Tylman registered five blocks to go with six kills (.357) in the day’s second match.
At the net, the Panthers earned a 9-8 advantage in blocks with junior Jordan Hefner adding three and freshman Katie Doering sending back two. But the Mustangs had the edge in digs (42-40), kills (46-39) and attack percentage (.314 to .243) on the night.
Meanwhile, senior Haley Barnes and junior Abby Broadstreet joined Tylman, Hefner and Doering with six kills apiece. From the back row, freshman Abby Bottomley posted 13 digs as Barnes chipped in with 10 in the match.
For the second straight game, sophomore Jenna Smith led the team with 17 assists while senior Carly Jimenez tallied 13.
Both teams struggled at times from the service line, though. The Mustangs recorded five aces compared to 10 errors and the Panthers registered just two aces to go with nine errors – five of which came in the hard-fought second set.
In the opening frame, the Mustangs jumped out to an 8-2 lead. However, three kills by Doering anchored a 14-8 spurt as HPU leveled the set at 16-all. But Cal Poly fought right back taking nine of the next 13 points to earn a 25-20 win.
The Purple & White attack found their legs in the second set with 20 kills including five from Hefner, but couldn’t overcome five service errors and dropped the set 27-25.
Much like the first set, the Mustangs took an early 7-2 advantage before the Panthers battled to within one behind consecutive blocks by Tylman (14-13). However, Cal Poly responded with a 6-1 run to regain control at 20-14.
Then, Doering and Livingston sparked a 5-1 run to cut the deficit to two at 21-19. But once again the Mustangs had the answer scoring four straight to close out the match (25-19).
HPU is back in action on Saturday at 1 p.m. against Dayton in the squad’s final match of the NIU Express Holiday Inn Invitational.