High Point Volleyball Downs Asheville in Straight Sets

Site: Asheville, N.C. (Justice Center)
Score: High Point 3, UNC Asheville 0 (25-10, 25-19, 25-17)
Records: HPU 3-0 (3-0 Big South), AVL 0-3 (0-3 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, February 18, 2021 — at UNC Asheville (Asheville, N.C.) 2 p.m.

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team picked up its second consecutive victory in straight sets with a 3-0 win over UNC Asheville Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 17).

Six Panthers recorded at least five kills in the match, led by sophomore Maggie Salley with nine. Madison Smith was right behind her with eight, followed by Gabrielle Idlebird with seven, Kaley Rammelsberg with six, and Maria Miggins and Annie Sullivan each with five. Abby Bottomley had a strong match serving, racking up a season-high four aces to give her 100 in her career.

High Point continued its strong defensive start to the season, holding UNC Asheville to hitting just .081 in the match, including .000 in the first set and never allowing the Bulldogs to hit above .150 in any of the three sets.

“I thought we started the match with great energy in the first set,” head coach Ryan Meek had to say. “Asheville really challenged us in the second and third sets and we did not do a great job matching their energy early in those sets. I thought we hung around and made some plays late that allowed us to get out with a great weep on the road. We will need to clean it up and play with more poise and energy and better execution to walk out with a win tomorrow.”

HPU came out ready to play in the opening set, taking advantage of some early Asheville miscues to take the first four points of the match. The Panthers then scored six in a row to take a 12-4 lead, with half of the six coming off of kills from Salley. The Bulldogs got two back to cut the lead to six but High Point answered with another big run, winning eight of the next 10 to win the race to 20, 20-8. UNC Asheville only mustered two more points of the final seven, with kills from Rammelsberg, Sullivan, and Idlebird coupled with a pair of errors from the hosts securing the set for the Panthers, 25-10.

The second set was much tighter, with neither team leading by more than two until the Purple and White took a three-point lead at 18-15. The teams traded points, with the best showing from High Point coming on a 4-1 stretch with a pair of kills from Miggins to make it 7-6 for HPU after trailing by two. The lead flipped between the two teams before HPU went on its three-point run with the score knotted at 15, with Bottomley picking up a kill from the backcourt in the middle of the three. High Point won three more in a row shortly after to open a six-point lead and then traded the next four points before a kill from Smith ended the set at 25-19 to give HPU a 2-0 advantage in the match.

Similar to the second set, the teams traded points early in the third set until an 8-2 run gave High Point a three-point lead, 12-9. Asheville took the next three to tie it up but the Panthers blew the set open by winning the next seven points and 12 of the next 14 to get to match point, 24-14. Bottomley picked up two of her aces during the run, aided by multiple kills from Idlebird. The Bulldogs looked to be mounting a comeback after winning the next three points but a service error ended hopes of a comeback to secure the set for HPU 25-17 and the three-set sweep.

High Point and Asheville are back in action again tomorrow (Feb. 18) to finish out the two-game set, with first serve scheduled for 2 p.m.