High Point Volleyball Edged by LSU in Millis, 3-2

• Junior Katie Tylman tied her career high with 20 kills – all coming after the first set – while hitting at a .529 clip.
• Junior Molly Livingston (18), senior Haley Barnes (14) and junior Jordan Hefner (11) all posted double digit kill totals in the match.
• High Point converted two of 10 set-point opportunities against the feisty Tigers including two match-point chances in the fifth set.
• LSU entered the match ninth in the nation allowing opponents to hit a combined .114 before HPU posted a .296 attack percentage on the night.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team built a 2-sets-to-1 lead and held a 14-12 advantage in the fifth set, but couldn’t hold on as LSU claimed a 3-2 victory in the Millis Center on Friday night.

The Panthers (4-4) were led by a balanced attack that featured junior Katie Tylman’s 20 kills and four others with at least nine. However, the Tigers (7-0) rode Taylor Bannister’s 26 kills and .605 attack percentage to the win.

After dropping the fourth set and falling behind 8-7 in the fifth, High Point answered with four kills from four different players to take a 12-11 edge. Then, junior Molly Livingston and senior Haley Barnes added kills to make it 14-12 and give HPU a match-point opportunity.

But, the Tigers answered scoring the next four to take the set, 16-14, and the match, 3-2. On the night, LSU fought off eight different set-point chances including the two in the fifth and final frame.

“Obviously we would love to come away with the win, but what a great match and atmosphere for the fans at Millis,” Mendoza said. “There were pockets of each set that we could have played clearer, but overall I felt both teams played very well, hitting hear .300 and there were a lot of really good rallies as the match went on. It was a battle of right-side hitters there for a while with Bannister and Katie each having over 20 kills and hitting over .500. We reminded the team after the match that, win or lose, it’s still the third week of the season and the emphasis is on improving each match. We played significantly better than Tuesday and I like the direction our team is heading. This is why we wanted such a high level schedule and I think it is making us a much better team because of these challenging matches. We will recover and get ready for another strong opponent tomorrow in NC State.”

Behind Tylman, Livingston racked up 18 kills, five blocks and an ace while fellow middle blocker, junior Jordan Hefner, collected 11 kills and four blocks. From the left side, Barnes collected her 44th career double-double with 14 kills and 13 digs.

“Tonight was a hard-fought match on both sides,” Barnes said. “We came out with a lot of competitive energy and determination to win. The score didn’t fall the way we wanted it to, but it’s so amazing to be a part of a team that is learning and improving every time we step out on the floor. We aren’t done yet. Tomorrow is another opportunity to improve and play High Point volleyball.”

Splitting the setting duties, sophomore Jenna Smith was credited with 36 assists, six digs and a kill while senior Carly Jimenez posted 28 assists, five digs and an ace.

Rounding out the diverse attack, junior Abby Broadstreet added nine kills, 10 digs and two blocks. In total, the Purple & White outhit the Tigers .296 to .286 while LSU earned a +3 edge in kills (78-75).

Likewise, the visitors posted 83 digs to High Point’s 75 with freshman Abby Bottomley’s 29 – a new career high.

The Panthers came out hot early racking up 17 kills compared to just five errors to hit at a .343 clip against the nation’s No. 9 defense statistically. Leading the way, Hefner and Livingston combined for 10 kills and four blocks to give HPU a 25-20 victory.

However, the Tigers responded to keep the second frame close with a .340 attack percentage as the teams split the first 46 points, 23-23. From there, the visitors fought off three set point chances for HPU before posting back-to-back blocks to claims the set 28-26.

After the intermission, HPU vaulted out to a 15-10 lead behind a hot-hitting offense. While the Panthers kept the pressure up with a .342 hitting percentage in the frame, LSU was able to even the score at 24-all. But Livingston posted a block and a kill to end the set, 26-24.

Looking to close the match, HPU led early in the fourth set, but LSU stormed back with 20 kills to take the set by a 25-21 margin.

As they did all night, LSU fought off two match-point opportunities and finished the match on a 4-0 run to take the final set 16-14.

The Panthers are back in the Millis Center on Saturday night at 6 p.m. to host NC State in the High Point Tournament before taking on UNC Wilmington on Sunday morning at 11 a.m.