HPU Volleyball Panthers Victorious in Battle with Campbell

Site: High Point, N.C. (Millis Center)
Score: High Point 3, Campbell 1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 25-20)
Records: HPU 13-0 (13-0 Big South), CU 9-4 (9-4 Big South)
Next HPU Event: Friday, March 26, 2021 — vs. Campbell (Millis Center, High Point, N.C.) 2 p.m.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team improved to 13-0 on the season with a four-set victory over Campbell University Thursday evening (March 25).

HPU’s 13-match winning streak is the second-longest in program history, as is the streak of 13 conference matches in a row. The match was tightly contested throughout, with the largest margin of victory in a single set being five points – which happened in three of the four frames.

The win gives the Panthers at least a share of the Big South regular-season title – the third championship in the last four years for HPU. A win in tomorrow’s series finale would give the Purple and White the outright championship and punch High Point’s ticket to its fourth NCAA Tournament in the last five years as the Big South’s automatic bid goes to the regular-season champion with no tournament this year.

High Point’s defense had another strong match, holding Campbell to hitting just .112 in the match, the 11th time HPU’s opponent has hit below .150. Abby Bottomley was a big reason for that, totaling a season-high 30 digs in the match, bringing her career total up to 2,049. Mackenzi Thornburg and Madison Smith each had double-digit digs as well, finishing with 16 and 10, respectively. Thornburg and Smith also each ended with double-doubles as Thornburg had 19 assists and Smith led the team with 15 kills.

Joining Smith in double-digit kills was Kaley Rammelsberg while Maria Miggins added 24 assists to lead the team. Gabrielle Idlebird also played a key role in defending the Campbell attack, totaling a season-high eight blocks in the match, including one solo stuff.

Campbell led early in the first set until High Point went on a 5-0 run, complete with three kills from Smith and an ace from Thornburg, to take the lead 10-9. The set remained a two-point affair at most until the Panthers pulled away late with a 7-1 run to take the opener 25-20. Rammelsberg picked up three kills in a row before the Fighting Camels’ lone point – after which HPU scored the next four, coming on a kill and an ace from Smith, a block by Rammelsberg and Annie Sullivan, and a kill from Sullivan.

Neither team had much of an advantage in the second set until Campbell went on an 8-2 run to take a five-point lead, 15-10. HPU was only able to cut the deficit down to three at 22-19 before Campbell got the three points it needed to take the set by the same score High Point took the first, 25-20.

High Point took the lead early and only lost it when Campbell picked up three-in-a-row to make it 5-4. The Panthers immediately took the lead back, and in impressive fashion, winning each of the next eight points to lead 12-5. Idlebird and Maggie Salley combined for two blocks in the run, with Idlebird and Smith each adding kills and Macy Miller serving up an ace. The Fighting Camels lived up to their name and didn’t go down without a fight, tying the set up at 21-21. That was as close as the visitors got, as HPU won four of the next five to take the set 25-22, capped off by a block from Miggins and Rammelsberg.

The Panthers were determined to not make it three consecutive matches that required five sets and never trailed in the fourth. The score was only tied three times after 0-0 in the frame, last happening at 8-8. High Point won four of the next five after that to take the lead for good, extending the lead to as many as seven after going on a 7-2 run to make it 20-13. HPU got to 24 points with Campbell at 18, giving the Purple and White five chances to end the match after four. They needed three of them after the Fighting Camels made it to 20 but an errant attack from the Campbell end gave the Panthers the point they needed.

High Point will look to secure the outright Big South championship tomorrow (March 26) when the Panthers and Fighting Camels meet again in the Millis Center at 2 p.m. It will be senior day for HPU as Bottomley, Kassidy Dickerson, and Ali Thanhauser will be honored for their time in the Purple and White prior to the match.