HPU Volleyball Caps Undefeated Run with 3-1 Victory at Radford

• High Point closed out the regular season with a 16-0 record in league play. That’s the 11th undefeated season in conference history and the most Big South wins by a team in a single season.
• The triumph extends High Point’s winning streak to 18 matches, which is tied with Fairfield and Cal Poly for the second-longest active streak in the nation.
• Senior Haley Barnes racked up 16 kills to move past Audie Gonzalez for second in HPU’s Division I era in career kills (1,374).

RADFORD, Va. – Senior Haley Barnes led the High Point University volleyball team to a 3-1 triumph at Radford on Saturday to close out the Big South slate with a 16-0 record.

The Panthers (23-6, 16-0) dropped the first set, but blew past the Highlanders (23-4, 13-3) in the next three frames to earn the victory. HPU’s 16-0 mark is the 11th undefeated regular season in Big South volleyball history and is the most wins in a single season in league action.

The 23 wins equal last season’s output and tie for the third-most in the program’s Division I era. Meanwhile, the team posted an incredible 48-4 set record in Big South action sweeping all eight home matches.

“The first set got off to a very strange start and we did not play very well in areas that we focus on,” head coach Mendoza said. “Once again, I have to credit to the group for making the changes and gradually taking control of the match. It’s not the friendliest venue, so it’s important for the team to understand how they need to play to win there considering Radford gets to host the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed. I’m so proud of the group for putting together a 16-0 regular season and only dropping four sets along the way. I told them they should feel great about that accomplishment, but that postseason is what we prepare for and build to. We’ll look to get in a good week of practice as we gear up for the semifinal on Saturday.”

Barnes finished the night with 16 kills, 13 digs and three aces while hitting at a .382 clip. In the two matches against Radford this season, Barnes tallied 31 kills compared to just four errors hitting .435. The 16 kills moved Barnes past Audie Gonzalez for second on HPU’s D-I career kills list with 1,374.

“The match tonight was a testament to the versatility and resilience of our team,” Barnes said, “Radford came out – as expected – fired up for their seniors and we didn’t respond as well as we would have liked. However, we maintained composure and focus on our side of the net to turn it around and finish the match. We had a goal and were able to stay mentally strong to clinch a 16-0 regular season.”

HPU’s defense was the key to victory earning a 70 to 52 margin in digs as freshman Abby Bottomley recorded 16 and junior Abby Broadstreet posted 11.

From the right side, freshman Katie Doering notched a career-high 10 kills while junior Katie Tylman chipped in with eight kills and three blocks. In the middle, juniors Molly Livingston (eight kills, two blocks) and Jordan Hefner (eight kills, four blocks) combined for 16 kills and six blocks.

Altogether, the Panthers hit .306 while limiting the Highlanders to a .137 mark. For the first time in conference play, HPU didn’t out-ace its opponent as both teams registered seven in the match.

Orchestrating the offense, senior Carly Jimenez recorded 22 assists and four digs as sophomore Jenna Smith added 21 assists and nine digs.

Rounding out the offense, Broadstreet chipped in with six kills while the setters earned on kill apiece.

After an even start, Radford used an 11-2 run to take a 22-12 advantage. However, the Panthers battled back to within four, 24-20, before Radford claimed the set by a 25-20 score.

Once again, the teams were tied midway through the frame at 13-all. Barnes, then, tallied two kills in the next three points as HPU gained a 16-13 lead. Although, Radford pulled within one, 17-16, the Panthers didn’t trail again as Tylman posted two kills and a block down the stretch to close out the 25-21 victory.

After the intermission, Livingston served the Panthers on an early 6-0 run as High Point vaulted out to a 9-3 advantage. Then a few points later Barnes served up a 5-0 run as HPU’s lead swelled to eight at 17-9. From there, the home team couldn’t get any closer than six as HPU took the frame 25-18.

For the fourth straight set, the teams were even early tied 8-all in the early going of the fourth frame. However, HPU exploded for a 15-3 run to build and insurmountable margin as the team closed out the match with a 25-12 win.

The Panthers will be back in the Dedmon Center next Saturday at 4:30 p.m. as the No. 1 seed in the Big South Championship. HPU will play the winner of the No. 4 versus No. 5 match, which will be played on Friday.