Bottomley Gets Career Milestone as HPU Volleyball Panthers Stay Perfect

Site: Charleston, S.C. (CSU Fieldhouse)
Match One Score: High Point 3, Charleston Southern 2 (17-25, 26-28, 25-23, 25-15, 19-17)
Match Two Score: High Point 3, Charleston Southern 2 (11-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-27, 15-8)
Records: HPU 12-0 (12-0 Big South), CSU 7-3 (7-3 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, March 25, 2021 — vs. Campbell (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.) 6 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team picked up a pair of wins in a pivotal Big South Conference doubleheader at Charleston Southern on Friday (March 19).

Senior libero Abby Bottomley made history in the second match, becoming just the second player in program history and sixth in Big South history to record 2,000 career digs. She entered the day 22 away from the milestone and totaled 41 over the two matches, including a season-best 29 in the second match.

The two teams entered the day in first and second in the conference standings and needed all 10 sets to decide the two matches, with the Panthers coming from down 2-0 in the first match and holding off a late Charleston Southern rally in the second match.

Wins in both matches moves HPU’s winning streak to 12 to start the season, tied for the second-longest winning streak in program history. The 12 wins are all conference wins as well – now the second-longest winning streak in program history in Big South play. High Point won all eight matches on the road this season to set a program record and has won its last 12 conference matches outside of the Millis Center, one shy of matching the program record.

Charleston Southern had the momentum early in the day, taking the first set 25-17 and holding HPU to hitting just .138 while the Buccaneers connected at a .371 clip. The second set was much closer and required extra points, with CSU moving one set away from a sweep after taking the frame 28-26. High Point had the largest lead of the set at four points, 17-13, and had two set-points to try and even it up but couldn’t get the one it needed as the Bucs took three-in-a-row to take the set.

The Panthers stormed back the rest of the way, hitting .300 or better in each of the final three sets of the first match. The third set was another battle, with Charleston Southern leading by four early. The Bucs led from the first point all the way up until HPU tied it at 17-17 and then took the lead 21-20. The teams traded sideouts after that to make it 23-23 before Maria Miggins picked up a kill to get to set-point and Gabrielle Idlebird and Maggie Salley combined forces for a block to force a fourth set.

High Point took care of business in the fourth set with a 25-15 victory, the second-largest margin of victory in a set on the day. It was even at 5-5 before the Panthers retook the lead, eventually blowing it open with a 7-0 run to make it 22-12. Once again the teams traded sideouts, with High Point not allowing the hosts to win consecutive points to take the set and force the decisive fifth.

Neither team was able to force its will on the other in the fifth set, with the largest lead of the set being three points at 9-6, Charleston So. The Panthers called a timeout after that and clawed within one, eventually tying it up at 12-12 and forcing a Buccaneer timeout. CSU won the next two points to get to match-point but the Panthers took the next three and swung the match over to their side. Charleston Southern never led again, with High Point getting the two points in a row it needed off a pair of kills from Annie Sullivan to take the match and stay unbeaten.

The second match started as a tale of two sets, with Charleston Southern coming out flying in the first set with a 25-11 victory while hitting .480 and holding HPU to hitting just. 040. The shoe was on the other foot in the second set, with the Purple and White hitting .282 while holding the Bucs to .056 en route to a 25-15 win in set two. Charleston Southern actually led by four early in the second set before HPU won seven straight to take the lead 13-10 and then closed it out with seven more in a row.

A run in the middle of the third set gave High Point the advantage that it never lost. CSU led by one, 7-6, before the Panthers took seven of the next eight to lead 13-8. The lead stayed around the four-point mark until another run of five points made it a more comfortable, 19-11 advantage for the Purple and White. Charleston Southern got it back to within five but couldn’t get any closer than that, marred by a match-high eight errors in the frame to give High Point the set, 25-18, for a 2-1 lead in the match.

The Buccaneers came out determined to force a fifth set, winning the first five points and holding the lead until HPU tied it at 17 apiece. High Point was only able to tie it, and did so twice more, fending off four consecutive set-points from CSU to knot it at 24. The comeback never came to fruition, however, as the Bucs won the final two points they needed to force a 10th set of the day.

High Point wasn’t going to let a fourth-set letdown keep it from winning the match as the Panthers took the first two points of the fifth and never looked back. Charleston Southern made it a one-point set at 8-7 before HPU called a timeout and went on the run that sealed the deal. The Purple and White won the next six points to get to set-point and capped off the win with a kill from Miggins after allowing CSU to take just one of the final eight points.

The Panthers will finish out their regular season in the Millis Center, starting by hosting Campbell for a pair of matches next week (March 25-26) in the penultimate weekend of the season.