HPU Volleyball’s Record Season Ends in 3-1 Setback to Purdue

• Senior Haley Barnes just missed logging the 53rd double-double of her career with nine kills, 11 digs and two aces.
• Freshman Katie Doering recorded double figures in kills for the fourth straight match leading the Panthers with 10 kills on the night.
• High Point’s win in the first set was the first NCAA Tournament set victory in program history and the fifth in the first round by a Big South team.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The High Point University volleyball team claimed its first NCAA Tournament set in program history before falling 3-1 to Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Panthers (24-8) used a 6-0 run at the end of the first set to earn a 25-21 win in the opening frame. The victory marked the program’s first set win in NCAA Tournament play and the fifth by a Big South program. However, the Boilermakers (23-9) stormed back to take the second 25-14 and used a comeback to take a 2-1 edge with a 25-22 win.

In the fourth set, Purdue used a fast start to pull away for a 25-12 victory to win the set and advance to the second round.

“I really loved the way we came out after we talked about our level of competing and that was where it needed to be to start the match,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “We won the first set without playing the greatest set of our season, but we competed hard enough and made enough plays to win. The second set was uncharacteristic going away from some of the things we focus on. But in the third set we came back and played the way we needed to play. Obviously in the fourth set they went on a couple of runs, but we competed the whole way. Overall, we have a lot to be proud of and this group is writing this program’s history.”

Freshman Katie Doering started fast en route to a 10-kill outing while hitting .381 on the night. The Kennesaw, Ga. product didn’t reach double figures in kills in any of the first 29 matches, but finished the year with four straight matches in double digits.

“Seeing how hungry and passionate the senior class is so contagious that you can’t help but push to get better,” Doering said. “They’ve done such an amazing job the last four years that it makes us want to do even more and push it even further in the future.”

On the outside, senior Haley Barnes just missed the 53rd double-double of her career racking up nine kills, 11 digs and two aces. The senior finished her career with 1,408 career kills, the second-most in High Point D-I history.

“Before becoming a senior, I never looked back at all that we accomplished during our careers,” Barnes said of how far the program has come during her four years. “Where we were as freshmen, I never would’ve believed we would’ve made it here. But we recruited the right people and have had the drive to not be satisfied and worked to get better. When Tom and Taylor came in that helped continue to push us forward. To see this turnaround in four years is pretty amazing and something that hasn’t settled in, but I wouldn’t trade my time here for the world.”

From the back row, freshman Abby Bottomley recorded a team-best 17 digs as the Boilermakers garnered a 59-51 margin in digs.

At the setter spot, sophomore Jenna Smith notched 19 assists and six digs while senior Carly Jimenez added 12 assists and three digs.

The Panthers had trouble overcoming Purdue’s size advantage as the Boilermakers posted a 12-3 edge in kills. The higher seed used that number to outhit HPU .227 to .063.

Juniors Jordan Hefner (six), Molly Livingston (five), Katie Tylman (five) and Abby Broadstreet (five) rounded out the offensive attack.

Meanwhile, the senior class of Amy Pilat, Barnes and Jimenez finished their careers second in HPU’s Division I era with 81 victories.

After a back-and-forth start, the Boilermakers built a 21-19 edge. However, Broadstreet picked up a kill to bring Smith to the service line. The sophomore took it from there serving up a 5-0 run anchored by the Panthers’ defense as HPU pulled away to win 25-21.

Purdue even the match 1-all taking advantage of an uncharacteristically sloppy set by High Point. The Panthers hit -.139 in the frame as the Boilermakers took the set 25-14.

The Purple & White settled down in the intermission building a 16-12 margin on an ace from Barnes. After Purdue cut into the lead, Barnes put it back up to three with a kill to make it 22-19. However, the Boilermakers steamed back with six straight points to claim a 25-22 victory.

Building off its momentum from the end of the third, Purdue hit .667 en route to a 17-9 edge as HPU called timeout. From there, the Boilermakers closed the match with a 25-12 win.