• Senior Haley Barnes racked up 15 kills and 15 digs to lead the Panthers to the four-set victory over Navy.
• Junior Jordan Hefner registered all of her game-high seven blocks after the intermission while adding seven kills in the match.
• High Point is back on the Millis Center court at 7 p.m. to host Elon in a match that will decide the Tussle in the Triad champion.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – After splitting the first two sets, the High Point University volleyball team took the next two frames 25-21 and 25-17 to best Navy in four sets in the Millis Center on Saturday morning.
The Panthers (6-6) cruised through the first set, 25-18, before dropping the second frame 25-13 to the Midshipmen (9-3). However, junior Jordan Hefner registered seven blocks in the third and fourth sets combined to spark the Purple & White to the triumph.
“I thought we played a more complete match than last night other than our letdown in set two, but I thought we responded well in set three,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “The brightest spot for me was the way we came out in set four because we’ve had some opportunities the last couple of weeks and didn’t close out matches. So, it was good to see us set the tempo in the fourth. That allowed up to play more relaxed as the set went on. We’re still learning how to win as a group and that dynamic is different every year, so we’re finding those key words that help us get over the hump to close teams out. Hopefully this morning was a step forward as we move into conference season.”
Hefner has just three kills as the match went to intermission. But the Orange City, Fla. Native helped turn the tide with five blocks in the third set. Overall, the middle blocker finished with seven kills and seven blocks while junior Molly Livingston added 11 kills and three blocks.
“I think our energy and believing in each other allowed us to bounce back from last night,” Hefner said. “We came in today expecting to defeat them and play well and once we have that mindset we feel like we can beat anyone. I think our block improving after the intermission was just about communication. Once we started talking, getting our hips together and focusing on closing to the block we had more success.”
Senior Haley Barnes paced the HPU attack with 15 kills while hitting at a .448 clip. Defensively, she added 15 digs to post the 46th double-double of her career, which is good for second in HPU’s Division I era. She also pulled within one dig of joining Audie Gonzalez as High Point’s only two members in the 1,000-kill, 1,000-dig club.
In the back row, the Purple & White tallied two more digs than Navy (75-73) thanks in large part to freshman Abby Bottomley who registered a match-high 22 digs.
Offensively, the Panthers hit over .200 in all three set wins, but just .073 in the second set. On the morning, HPU hit .217 while holding the Midshipmen to a .211 attack percentage.
Distributing for the offense, sophomore Jenna Smith tallied 22 assists and 10 digs as senior Carly Jimenez added 18 assists and 13 digs.
Rounding out the offense, junior Abby Broadstreet posted eight kills while junior Katie Tylman (six) and freshman Katie Doering (five) combined for 11.
In the first set, High Point rode the hot-hitting of Barnes and Broadstreet to a 25-18 win as the duo combined for nine kills. However, the HPU offense slowed in the second set hitting just .073 and falling 25-13.
After the intermission, Hefner and the Panthers responded. Behind five blocks from the junior, HPU led by as many as seven, 19-12, before holding on for a 25-21 victory.
A night as losing a 2-1 lead, the Purple & White started the fourth set with a purpose jumping out to a 6-1 lead. From there, Navy couldn’t get any closer than three as HPU closed the match with a 25-17 win.
The Panthers get the afternoon off before coming back to host Elon in the finale of the Tussle in the Triad at 7 p.m.