High Point Volleyball Drops Five-Set Showdown at UNCG

• Senior Haley Barnes went without a kill in the first set, but finished the night with the 45th double-double to tie Jamie Kaufman with the second most in HPU’s D-I era.
• Junior Molly Livingston racked up 16 kills and five blocks in the match.
• With Barnes (18 digs) and freshman Abby Bottomley (17 digs) leading the way, High Point earned a +7 margin (69-62) in digs.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team erased multiple deficits in the fifth set, but couldn’t complete the comeback in a 3-2 setback at UNCG on Friday night.

The Panthers (5-6) opened the Tussle in the Triad dropping the first set 25-23 before bouncing back to take the next two frames (25-20 and 25-17). However, the Spartans (7-3) stormed to a 25-17 win in the fourth before vaulting out to a 7-1 edge in the fifth.

Though HPU fought back to even the score at 9-9 and again at 13-all, it couldn’t overtake the home team, which held on for a 15-13 win.

“We treated the fans to an exciting match, but not a very quality match,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “That many ups and downs in our play isn’t a recipe for sustained success and that’s the number one thing we will look to improve on starting tomorrow. We’re thankful to get to go right back on the court tomorrow and play more as a team.”

Despite being held without a kill in the first, senior Haley Barnes led the Panthers with 19 kills, 18 digs and three aces. The double-double was the 45th of her career, which tied Jamie Kaufman for the second most in HPU’s D-I era. Meanwhile, the 18 digs moved her to within 16 of joining Audie Gonzalez in HPU’s 1,000-kill, 1,000-dig club.

Joining her fellow Wisconsin native, junior Molly Livingston added 17 kills and five blocks on the night. Rounding out the offense, junior Abby Broadstreet chipped in with eight kills as junior Jordan Hefner posted five.

From her setter spot, sophomore Jenna Smith racked up 42 assists, eight digs and two kills. Meanwhile, freshman Abby Bottomley added 17 digs as the Panthers earned a +7 edge in digs (69-62).

The Panthers held UNCG’s attack down in the second and third sets, but were outhit .225 to .190 overall and had three fewer kills (60-57).

At the net, the Spartans earned a 15-10 margin in blocks despite five from junior Katie Tylman in the match.

Runs were hard to come by early as both teams sided out over 75 percent of the time as the teams spilt the first 32 points. But two aces in the next five points by Barnes and Bottomley allowed HPU to build a 20-17 edge. However, the Spartans answered with a 6-1 run to take the set 25-23.

In the second, two kills from Livingston vaulted the Panthers to an 8-3 lead. Although, UNCG pulled within one, Barnes posted seven kills as the Panthers evened the match with a 25-20 triumph.

UNCG came out hot after the intermission, but Tylman and Livingston halted their momentum with two blocks in the midst of a 7-2 run that gave HPU a 15-13 advantage. From there, the Purple & White cruise to a 25-17 win by holding the Spartans to a .033 attack percentage.

Once again, the home team built a commanding 20-10 edge. But this time the deficit was too big for the Panthers as UNCG evened the set at 2-2 winning 25-18 in the fourth.

For the third straight set, the Spartans took an early lead, 7-1. However, that’s when the Panthers came alive taking eight of the next 10 points to even the set at 9-all. UNCG responded to take a 13-10 lead, but High Point bounced right back to even the score.

But a service ace and a kill from the Spartans followed to allow UNCG to claim the victory 15-13.

The Panthers get 14 hours off to rest for their 11 a.m. match against Navy in the Millis Center. Then, High Point will host Elon at 7 p.m. in the conclusion of the Tussle in the Triad.