HPU VB Panthers Drop Weekend Finale at Fairfield

Site: Fairfield, Conn. (Walsh Athletic Center)
Score: Fairfield 3, High Point 1 (23-25, 25-22, 17-25, 15-25)
Records: FFD 2-5, HPU 5-2
Next HPU Event: Friday, September 10 2021 — at #7 Pitt (Pittsburgh, Pa.), 10 a.m.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – The High Point University volleyball team lost in four sets to Fairfield University on Sunday (Sept. 5) in the Panthers’ fourth match in three days in the northeast.

HPU only came away victorious in the second set, taking it 25-22 to level the match at one set apiece. High Point had its best hitting percentage in the third set at .194 despite losing it 17-25 and then dropped the fourth set 15-25.

Sophomore Dylan Maberry matched her career-high with 17 kills and had a .405 hitting percentage to lead the team in both categories. Freshman Sydney Palazzolo notched her third double-double of the young season with 10 kills and 11 digs to be the only other Panther with double-digit kills. Palazzolo tied with classmate Jenny Wessling for the most digs on the day, keeping Wessling’s streak of double-digit digs in each match this season alive. Junior Maria Miggins reached the 30-assist threshold for the third time this season with 30 in Sunday’s loss as the only Panther with double-digit helpers.

High Point led 3-1 in the first set but lost the next four points and didn’t lead again in the opening stanza after that. The Stags had a five-point lead at set-point before High Point made it interesting by winning the next four but couldn’t get the fifth point it needed to extend the frame, falling 23-25.

HPU was all over Fairfield early in the second set and led 13-5 after back-to-back aces from Gabrielle Idlebird that capped off a six-point run. High Point’s lead started to evaporate after that as the hosts had a 10-2 stretch that cut the Panthers’ lead to one, 18-17. The Stags tied the set up at 20-20 and then again at 22-22 before the Purple and White won the next three points to take the set and level the match at one apiece.

The lead only changed hands once in the third and fourth sets combined and that came after High Point opened the fourth set with an ace from Evy Eckensberger. The third set was tied at four each before Fairfield won the next seven to take the lead for good. HPU kept fighting and cut its deficit to as little as three (14-17) before the Stags pulled away to win by eight. In the fourth set, Fairfield won the next five points after Eckensberger’s ace and held the lead for the duration of the frame. The Panthers only trailed by two at 7-9 when the hosts went on a 9-2 run and then a 7-2 run to win by 10 and take the match.

High Point heads back to the northeast next weekend for the Panther Challenge hosted by Pitt in the toughest tournament HPU will play in during the regular season, with all four teams making an appearance at the NCAA Tournament in Omaha in the spring. It’s an all-Panthers matchup to start the event as the Purple and White open with No. 7-ranked Pitt on Friday (Sept. 10) at 10 a.m. before facing Bowling Green and No. 13 BYU on Friday (Sept. 11) at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.