Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 3, Campbell 0 (25-10, 25-19, 25-12)
Records: HPU 14-0 (14-0 Big South), CU 9-5 (9-5 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Thursday, April 1, 2021 — vs. Gardner-Webb (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.) 6 p.m.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team won the Big South regular-season title for the third time in the last four years with a straight-sets victory over Campbell University Friday afternoon (March 26).
The title also sends the Panthers to their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last five years as with no Big South Tournament this year the regular-season champion receives the Big South’s automatic bid to the tournament. HPU’s 14-match winning streak is the second-longest in program history, as is the streak of 14 conference matches in a row.
High Point also celebrated Senior Day on Friday, honoring Kassidy Dickerson, Ali Thanhauser, and Abby Bottomley for their four years in the Purple and White. The three have compiled a .721 winning percentage over their four years, with a .933 mark in conference play to cement themselves as the most successful class in HPU’s Division I history.
“I thought it was a true team performance. We got everybody we dressed into the match and got to celebrate our seniors,” head coach Ryan Meek said after the match. “I was a little concerned coming in about what we were going to do after an emotional win last night and 10 points in we already answered that we were going to show up. We’ve been talking about it all year, but when we view ourselves as a defensive team and really click-in to that, you see what we can do. Campbell hit .009 today, almost zero. When we click-in on defense we’re really good and when we don’t bother on defense we run into issues.”
Campbell’s hitting percentage of .009, with just one more kill than error in 116 attempts, is the second-lowest an opponent has hit on High Point this season and was the ninth time HPU has held its opposition to hitting under .100. The Purple and White hold opponents to hitting just .101 on the season for the fifth-best defense in the country.
Bottomley and Gabrielle Idlebird once again played key roles in High Point’s defense being so successful on Friday, with Bottomley recording 22 digs and Idlebird picking up seven blocks, two of which were solo efforts. Annie Sullivan paced the Panthers offensively as the only High Point player with double-digit kills, picking up 15 for her third-highest total of the season.
High Point dominated the first set from the onset, winning 10 of the first 11 points. Mackenzi Thornburg was serving for eight of those points and picked up both of her service aces on the day in that stretch to go along with kills from Maggie Salley, Maria Miggins, and Sullivan, and blocks from Idlebird and Sullivan. The closest Campbell got from that point on was six points as HPU closed out the set in style with a 7-1 stretch, with three kills from Sullivan powering the run.
The second set saw the Fighting Camels take the early lead, going up 7-2 before High Point battled back to make it 7-6. Campbell took the next four, immediately re-establishing a five-point lead. HPU kept chipping away at the deficit and roared back late, storming from behind with a 13-2 run that turned a 17-12 deficit into a 25-19 victory in the set, with Madison Smith completing the comeback with a kill.
High Point used another early run to open a quick lead in the third set, taking seven straight after the set was tied at 2-2 to lead 9-2. Campbell only picked up 10 more points the rest of the way and never came within four as the Purple and White outhit the visitors .323 to zero in the final set to cruise to the straight-sets victory.
HPU wraps up the regular season next week when Gardner-Webb visits the Millis Center. The first match with the Runnin’ Bulldogs is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday (April 1), followed by a 2 p.m. contest on Friday (April 2).