HPU Volleyball Sweeps Gardner-Webb to Extend Winning Streak to 11

• The Panthers claimed their 11th straight win and have now won 23 consecutive sets, which passed Western Kentucky (22) for the longest active streak in the country.
• Junior Katie Tylman went 7-for-7 in the second set en route to a 10-kill performance while hitting at a .714 clip.
• Freshman Abby Bottomley recorded a three-set season high of 27 digs as HPU limited Gardner-Webb to a -.054 attack percentage.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball earned its seventh straight sweep to move to 9-0 in Big South play with a victory over Gardner-Webb in the Millis Center on Tuesday night.

Nine different Panthers (16-6, 9-0) earned kills as they won in straight sets (25-9, 25-11, 25-18) to extend their winning streak to 11 matches.

The streak ties the 2008 team for the longest streak in HPU’s Division I era and also matches that squad for the best start to Big South play. Meanwhile, that stretch includes two sweeps of the Runnin’ Bulldogs (7-15, 1-8) and a nation-leading 23 consecutive set victories.

“I liked the way we came out in the first set because we were very clean and aggressive when we had the ball, which allowed us to get good aggressive swings,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “Those swings were giving us easier opportunities to defend and put them out of system and that gave us better chances to set up our block and defense. We continued that through the second set, but we got away from it a little bit in the third set. However, I thought we responded well after that, made adjustments and got back into a rhythm like the first two sets.”

Junior Katie Tylman paced the nine Panthers to earn kills with 10 on just 14 attack attempts (.714). Meanwhile, freshman Ali Thanhauser posted career highs in kills (five) and blocks (two) including four kills and both blocks in the third set.

“I think we played really well and it was awesome to see everyone be able to come in and step up,” Tylman said. “[Winning 11 matches in a row] feels awesome. We’ve been playing really consistent volleyball allowing other teams to have their ups and downs while we stay consistent through all of it.”

From the back row, freshman Abby Bottomley posted a new three-set career high with 27 digs, which a the most by a Big South player in a three-set match this year. Overall, the Purple & White tallied a 51-42 margin in digs as junior Adeline Ellis earned nine – a new HPU high for the Pitt transfer.

Similarly, Ellis recorded six kills – a season high – while junior Molly Livingston added six kills, three aces, three blocks and three digs in the win. HPU’s other middle, junior Jordan Hefner tallied three kills and two blocks in two sets of action.

Orchestrating the attack that outhit its opponent .298 to -.054, senior Carly Jimenez dished out 17 assists to go with a career-high three aces. Likewise, sophomore Jenna Smith chipped in with 13 helpers and three digs.

On the right side, freshman Katie Doering notched five kills and a block as redshirt-sophomore Olivia Barr added two kills and a block. Overall, HPU earned a 7-5 edge in blocks and an 8-0 margin in aces.

Bottomley set the tone early racking up nine digs as the Panthers forced the Runnin’ Bulldogs into 12 attack errors in the first frame. While Livingston added four kills offensively, GWU hit just -.250 as HPU claimed the frame 25-9, which tied for the largest margin by HPU this season.

The second set was all about Tylman who pounded down seven kills on seven attack attempts. Meanwhile, redshirt-sophomore Olivia Barr added her second kill of the season to close out an 11-2 run and make it 23-9. After GWU scored two straight, the visitors committed an error before junior Rachel Kordonowy’s serve forced an overpass that Thanhauser killed for the final point in a 25-11 win.

After the intermission, the Purple & White started slow as the frame was tied 15-15 after 30 points. However, Thanhauser broke the tie with a kill before Livingston extended it to two with an ace, 17-15. GWU never pulled even again as Jimenez served the Panthers to a 7-0 run to pull away for a 25-16 triumph.

The Panthers look to continue their hot play as they visit UNC Asheville on Friday at 7 p.m. before moving on to Winthrop on Saturday at 4 p.m.