• High Point has won 17 straight sets, which is the nation’s longest active streak and the longest stretch in the program’s Division I era.
• Overall, the team has won nine straight matches and is 7-0 in Big South play for the first time since the 2008 team started 9-0.
• Junior Molly Livingston continued her dominance with 14 kills while hitting at a .500 clip in the match.
• Senior Haley Barnes missed a double-double by one dig with 10 kills and nine digs on the night.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – A hot-hitting night from the squad’s middles led High Point University volleyball team to a 3-0 sweep of Liberty in the Millis Center on Tuesday night.
The sweep gives the Purple & White the nation’s longest active set winning streak pushing the total to 17 straight sets through the last five-plus matches. In total, the Panthers have earned nine straight wins and are 7-0 in the Big South for the first time since the program opened the 2008 season 9-0.
Juniors Molly Livingston and Jordan Hefner combined for 11 kills on 12 swings to lead the Panthers (14-6, 7-0) to a 25-17 win in the first set. That set the tone for the night as High Point outhit the Flames (6-13, 3-3) to the tune of .304 to .152 en route to two more wins (25-19 and 25-18).
“I thought the first set was our most complete set tonight as far as putting everything together,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “There were parts of the second and third sets where we got a little passive, but once we were able to fix that and adjust our block defense we were able to put together some runs and kind of open up a lead. Overall, it was a great match and it’s always good to get a conference win against a team like Liberty that is going to keep getting better as the year goes on.”
On the night, Livingston tallied 14 kills while hitting .500. The junior’s streak of errorless volleyball was snapped, but she incredibly has 53 kills and just two errors over the squad’s last five matches. Meanwhile, Hefner finished with nine kills and two blocks using a .538 attack percentage.
“I think we’ve really just tried to play with a lot of energy while staying aggressive the whole match,” Livingston said of the key to the team’s winning streak. “We’ve been working on keeping our side of the net clean and controlling what we can control and I think that’s impacted our game starting with the serve and has carried through to the attack.”
From the back row, freshman Abby Bottomley registered 20 digs as HPU earned a 49-46 edge in digs. In seven sets against Liberty this fall, the HPU libero has amassed 55 digs (7.86/set).
Just missing a double-double, senior Haley Barnes racked up 10 kills and nine digs to go with a team-best two aces. At the other outside hitter spot, junior Abby Broadstreet tallied six kills and seven digs on the night.
Orchestrating the hot-hitting attack, senior Carly Jimenez dished out 21 assists while collecting four digs and sophomore Jenna Smith registered 18 assists and six digs.
Rounding out the offense, the right-sides – junior Katie Tylman and freshman Katie Doering – each collected five kills on the night.
Overall, the Panthers recorded 49 kills compared to the Flames’ 29. Similarly, HPU held an edge in aces (6-4), but Liberty posted more blocks (7-3).
The Panthers rode their middles to a 25-17 victory in the first set. Livingston slammed down six kills on seven swings while Hefner went a perfect 5-for-5 as HPU tallied 18 kills and a .484 attack percentage.
However, the Flames defense held the High Point attack down for much of the second set before a 6-0 run allowed the Panthers to build a 23-16 edge. From there, a Liberty attack error and Livingston’s 11th kill of the match ended the set 25-19.
In the third set, HPU struggled to pull away and led Liberty 18-17 late in the frame. Then a kill from Broadstreet turned the tide making it 19-17. On the next rally, Bottomley denied the Flames a kill with an impressive dig, which led to another point for the Panthers. Next, Livingston followed with her 14th kill and senior Amy Pilat served up an ace to make it 23-17.
Although the Flames answered with a point of their own, the damage was done and a kill by Barnes and an ace from Livingston ended the match, 25-18.
The Panthers remain at home this weekend to host UNC Asheville in the Millis Center on Saturday at 2 p.m.