PITTSBURGH, Pa. — The High Point University split a pair of matches at the Pitt Invite Saturday (Sept. 15), sweeping Liberty, 3-0, before falling to host No. 9 Pitt, 3-1.
“We’re thankful to Pitt for hosting us at the last minute as Hurricane Florence cancelled our plans for the weekend,” HPU head coach Ryan Meek said. “I thought we served and serve received at a high level all day and it led to a great win over former Big South rival Liberty and a fun match against Pitt.
“I thought we turned a corner in the third and fourth sets against Pitt as far as competing and playing as hard as we need to against a great team if we want to give ourselves a chance to win. With the exception of a few non-conference matches, we now turn the page to the Big South slate and look forward to trying to defend Big South Regular Season Championship.”
High Point 3, Liberty 0
The Panthers (4-7) hit .262 on the way to a 25-19, 25-20 and 25-21 victory over former Big South foe Liberty.
HPU led in kills, 44-33, and service aces, 6-2, while the Flames (3-9) led in blocks, 8-3. Senior Molly Livingston led HPU with 10 kills and hit .364, while senior Katie Tylman and freshman Madison Smith each added nine. Livingston also added three service aces. Sophomore Abby Bottomley recorded a game-high 15 digs.
In the first set, the Panthers hit .286 and recorded 18 kills to the Flames’ 10, including five from Smith. The two teams were tied at 13 in the second set when HPU went on an 8-0 run to break open the frame.
In the third, the Flames cut the gap to within one at 16-15, but that was as close as they would come before the Panthers finished off the match, 25-21.
No. 9 Pitt 3, High Point 1
High Point took a set from a top-10 team for the second time this season, but No. 9 Pitt (11-0) won in four sets, 25-21, 25-19, 18-25 and 25-22. High Point also took a set from then-No. 8 Wisconsin on Sept. 2 in Madison, Wis.
The two teams were about even at hitting as Pitt had a .246 percentage to High Point’s .237. HPU led in blocks, 7-3, and two teams each had eight service aces.
Freshman Madison Smith had 12 kills against no errors with a .522 hitting percentage, while seniors Abby Broadstreet added 11 kills. Senior Katie Tylman hit .292 with 10 kills and four blocks, while fellow senior Molly Livingston also had four blocks to go along with three service aces. Another senior, Adeline Ellis, also served up three aces.
In the first, High Point was only down on at 18-17, but Pitt scored the next four to gain some breathing room and went on to win, 25-21.
The Purple & White had a slim 16-14 lead in the second set, but Pitt went on a 9-0 run and claimed the frame, 25-19.
In the third, Pitt tied the set at 16 before High Point went on a 9-2 run to win, 25-18. In the fourth, Pitt had a 16-10 lead, but HPU came back and the set was tied at 22 before Pitt took the final three points.
High Point travels to Spartanburg, S.C., to take on conference newcomer USC Upstate on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in both teams’ Big South opener.