HPU Volleyball Panthers Keep Rolling with Win over Radford

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 3, Radford 0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-19)
Records: HPU 6-0 (6-0 Big South), RU 3-5 (3-5 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, March 4, 2021 — at USC Upstate (Spartanburg, S.C.) 6 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team made it three straight series sweeps to start the season with another victory in straight sets over Radford University Friday afternoon (Feb. 26).

Madison Smith led the Panthers offensively with a career-high 17 kills – the most any HPU player has had in a single match this season. Abby Bottomley was back in double digits in digs with 18 for the most a member of the Purple and White have had in a three-set match this season. Bottomley is closing in on a pair of career milestones in digs, as Friday was her 99th game with double-digit digs and the 98th time leading HPU in the category.

High Point’s defense was up to the challenge yet again, holding Radford to hitting just .020 in the match, including a -.143 mark in the final set. It’s the fourth time this season that HPU has led opponents to hitting less than .100 in a match, holding opponents to an average hitting percentage of .066.

“Anytime you get a win in conference it’s big,” head coach Ryan Meek said after the victory. “We have to play 16 matches and we know we’re not going to play 16 perfect matches. We definitely didn’t play a perfect match today but we found a way to get out of it with a win, which is all that matters at the end of the year.”

Neither team led by more than three before the Panthers went on a 7-0 run to take a 17-8 lead in the opening set. Smith had three kills in the run and Gabrielle Idlebird added a pair to go along with an ace from Macy Miller. Smith added two more kills after a Radford point and Bottomley served up her first ace of the day to get the Purple and White to 20 points in the set with a 20-9 lead. The Highlanders cut the lead back to single digits but the Panthers still took the set by double-digits, capped off by the first career service aces from Evy Eckensberger.

The second set was even tighter than the first early on, with the largest lead being two points before Radford led by four, 17-13. High Point immediately answered with four straight to tie it up, with all four points coming on Highlander miscues. The score remained tight until the Panthers stormed back to take the set with a 7-1 run to close it out 25-20. Smith picked up two more kills in the run and the final point was secured by a block from Kaley Rammelsberg and Maria Miggins.

High Point led early in the third set at 6-3 but the Highlanders scored three in a row to knot it up at six. The teams then proceeded to trade progressively longer runs until HPU took a three-point lead, 18-15. Smith and Rammelsberg combined for a block and then Miggins and Rammelsberg picked up kills to open the small lead. Radford made it a one-point set two points later but that was as close as it got as the Panthers took seven of the final nine points, capped off by a kill from Annie Sullivan.

HPU is back on the road next weekend, traveling to USC Upstate for two matches with the Spartans on March 4 and 5.