HPU Volleyball Falls to Wolfpack in Three Sets

• Senior Haley Barnes led the HPU attack with 12 kills to go with four digs.
• The middle blocking duo of Jordan Hefner and Molly Livingston combined for 15 kills and just one error in the match.
• The Panthers round out the High Point Tournament against UNC Wilmington on Sunday at 11 a.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team dropped a three-set match to NC State on Saturday night in the Millis Center.

The Panthers (4-5) fell behind early in the first set and couldn’t recover as the Wolfpack (2-5) took the set 25-15. HPU, then, took a lead in the second and third but the hot-hitting NC State squad took both frames (26-24, 25-21) to win the match.

“We have to give a lot of credit to NC State for playing a very good match,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “That was the lowest amount of errors I have seen them make this year and that’s partly because we weren’t able to put consistent pressure on them with our serving or blocking. I felt that we came out a little flat compared to our effort from yesterday, but I like that we tried to battle through it in the second and third sets. We set such a challenging schedule so that we wouldn’t be able to get away with subpar matches and NC State played well enough to take advantage of some of our mistakes. I think we’ve already learned from it and are mentally preparing for to come out better against UNC Wilmington tomorrow.”

Despite a below average attack percentage of .202 as a team, the middle blocking duo of Molly Livingston and Jordan Hefner racked up 15 kills and just one error. Livingston finished with eight kills, three blocks and four digs while Hefner added seven kills and two blocks.

“Tonight was not a very satisfying match on our end,” Livingston said. “NC State played a clean match and was consistent throughout the night. We couldn’t quite find our rhythm and execute. On the flip side, we are looking forward to coming back in the morning to grind and play some true High Point volleyball.”

Leading the attack, senior Haley Barnes recorded 12 kills to go with four digs. Meanwhile, from the setter spot, sophomore Jenna Smith dished out 28 assists while adding six digs.

The Wolfpack posted a 48-25 edge in kills and 48-38 advantage in digs despite a team-best 10 from freshman Abby Bottomley.

The Purple & White struggled early with six unforced errors in the first set and couldn’t recover as NC State hit .379 to take the set 25-15.

Behind two kills by Barnes and an ace from sophomore Jenna Weidner the Panthers jumped out to a 7-4 lead. However, the Wolfpack responded 14-8 spurt to build a four-point advantage, 19-15.

The visitors maintained the four-point edge, 23-19, before HPU responded claiming the next four points to knot the score at 23-all and again at 24-24. But NC State picked up a kill and a block to close out the 26-24 victory.

Much like the second set, the two teams battled back and forth as the score was tied 15-15 after 30 points. However, NC State finished on a tear scoring 10 of the final 16 points to win the match and the High Point Tournament.

The Panthers are back on the Millis Center floor to wrap up the High Point Tournament against UNC Wilmington on Sunday morning at 11 a.m.