• The Panthers swept host Villanova, 3-0, before falling to No. 21 Utah, 3-1
• Senior Abby Broadstreet and sophomore Abby Bottomley were named to the all-tournament team
• Against the Wildcats, senior Molly Livingston hit .556 with 11 kills
VILLANOVA, Pa. — The High Point University volleyball team picked up a split on the last day of the Villanova Classic on Saturday (Sept. 8). The Panthers (3-6) swept Villanova, 3-0, before falling to No. 21 Utah, 3-1.
“Today was easily the best sustained volleyball we’ve played on the year,” HPU head coach Ryan Meek said. “We came out sharp and focused against a very good Villanova team and were able to sweep them in their home gym.
“We had a few hours off before we turned around and played Utah, the No. 21 team in the country, and competed and were close for four sets. We need to take better care of the ball in some situations and learn how to close out sets against top teams. I’m very proud of our effort and we’ll get back in the gym this week and continue to learn and grow!”
High Point 3, Villanova 0
HPU swept host Villanova, 25-22, 25-16 and 25-19. The Panthers outhit the Wildcats, .271-.097, and led in kills, 46-32, and blocks, 8-4.
Senior Molly Livingston led the Panthers with a .556 hitting percentage, 11 kills and six blocks. Fellow senior Katie Tylman also hit 11 kills, while senior Abby Broadstreet added 10.
Freshman Mackenzi Thornburg recorded a double-double with 21 assists and 10 digs, while junior Jenna Smith added 16 assists and nine digs. Sophomore Abby Bottomley led the squad with 16 digs.
In the first set, Thornburg tallied seven assists as well as six digs, while Livingston had six kills against one error. Livingston had the final two kills as HPU took the first frame, 25-22.
Down 9-5 in the second, the Panthers went on a 15-2 run to take a 20-11 lead on the way to winning the set, 25-16.
The third was similar to the second set. Villanova led 13-9, but the Panthers stormed back on an 11-2 run to take a 20-15 lead. Tylman finished off the match with her 11th kill of the match.
No. 21 Utah 3, High Point 1
The Panthers took the first set from No. 21 Utah (7-2), but ultimately fell, 23-25, 25-22, 25-20 and 25-23.
Utah outhit the Purple & White, .285-.238 and held a slight advantage in service aces, 6-5, while HPU led in blocking, 10-7.
Senior Abby Broadstreet led the Panthers with 14 kills and a .355 hitting percentage, while fellow senior Katie Tylman added 13 kills. Another senior, Jordan Hefner, added six blocks, and sophomore Abbey Bottomley had a game-high 27 digs.
With the first set tied at 14, the Panthers went on an 7-1 run to take a 21-15 lead. The Utes came back and fought off two set points before a kill by Broadstreet won the set for HPU at 25-23.
In the second, Utah built a lead of 19-12 before High Point started to claw back, but was only able to get within two before the Utes tied up the match with a 25-22 set win.
The two squads were tied 13 times in the third set before the Utes won eight out of the last 11 points to take a 2-1 lead. The fourth set was also tight as the teams were tied at 20, 22 and 23 before Utah won the last two points to close out the match.
After the match, Bottomley and Broadstreet were named to the all-tournament team.
The Panthers take part in the Tussle in the Triad Sept. 14-15. HPU hosts UNCG on Sept. 14 at 6 p.m. in its first home game of the season. The Purple & White plays Elon on Sept. 15 at 10:30 a.m., then travels to UNCG to take on Kansas at 4 p.m.