Barnes Lifts HPU Volleyball Panthers Past Bulldogs, 3-1

• Senior Haley Barnes recorded the 42nd double-double of her career with 22 kills and 15 digs to go along with three aces.
• Freshman Abby Bottomley upped her career high with 25 digs in the match.
• Junior Katie Tylman racked up 12 kills while hitting at a .500 clip – her second match of the day hitting over .400.
• The Purple & White have knocked off two Power-5 foes for the second straight season with wins over Georgia and Oklahoma today. They beat NC State and Wake Forest last year.

ATHENS, Ohio – Senior Haley Barnes exploded for 22 kills and 15 digs to pace the High Point University volleyball team to a 3-1 victory over Georgia on Friday night in Bobcat Invitational.

The Panthers (3-2) mounted a late run to take the first set 25-22 before dropping the second set 25-19 to the Bulldogs (5-1). However, HPU responded taking the next two sets 25-18 and 25-18 to finish off their second win over a Power-5 program of the day and make it two straight seasons with multiple Power-5 victories.

“Statistically it was a very even match,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “I felt that we created an advantage in serving and passing and that allowed us to run our offense a little more often than they could. Against Oklahoma we were very even offensively, but tonight Haley and Katie went off to combine for 34 kills. It’s good to see that we can beat good teams multiple ways. Overall, today was a great step forward for the program and we will prepare with the goal to take another one tomorrow by finishing a tough weekend 3-0.”

After a balanced attack carried the Panthers to a three-set victory in the afternoon match against Oklahoma, Barnes led the way in the nightcap with 22 kills while hitting at a .306 clip.

“Tonight’s win against the Bulldogs was a huge team win for us,” Barnes added. “Our defense worked hard to put our setters in a great position to execute our offense effectively. Today we battled tough and maintained a competitive focus. We are excited about the win and ready for the challenge tomorrow will bring.”

On the right side, junior Katie Tylman continued her solid play on the day with 12 kills, three blocks and a .500 attack percentage. In support, junior Jordan Hefner registered seven kills and three blocks as junior Abby Broadstreet netted five kills and four digs.

From the back row, freshman Abby Bottomley recorded a career-high 25 digs as High Point earned a +2 edge in digs (68-66). Georgia earned an edge in hitting percentage (.234 to .217) but committed 15 service errors to just four aces while HPU netted eight aces and five service errors.

At setter, sophomore Jenna Smith dished out 31 assists to go with four digs and senior Carly Jimenes added 19 helpers and three digs.

While not making her usual impact at the net – four kills and three blocks – junior Molly Livingston made an impact with nine digs and four aces.

In a nip-and-tuck opening set, Georgia took a 22-21 lead. However, the Bulldogs sandwiched three attack errors around a kill from Barnes as HPU won the set 25-22. HPU’s set point was the first time either team led by more than two in the frame.

In the second set, Barnes posted three early kills as HPU built a 9-5 edge. However, the Bulldogs responded with a 12-4 run to take a 17-13 lead. The Panthers battled to within two, but dropped the set 25-19 to even the match.

After the break, Georgia took a 10-8 edge before Barnes served the Panthers to an 8-0 as High Point moved ahead by four, 14-10. From there, the HPU lead peaked at seven, 19-12, as the Purple & White closed out a 25-18 triumph.

Once again, play was even early as the teams split the first 20 points. But High Point received contributions from nearly everyone scoring 12 of the next 19 points to lead 22-17. Georgia couldn’t get any closed than three the rest of the way as HPU claimed a 25-21 win.

The Panthers wrap up their weekend slate against host Ohio at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.