HPU VB Panthers Fall in Three Sets at South Carolina

Site: Columbia, S.C. (Carolina Volleyball Center)
Score: South Carolina 3, High Point 0 (11-25, 11-25, 22-25)
Records: USC 8-2, HPU 8-5
Next HPU Event: Friday, September 24, 2021 — at USC Upstate (Spartanburg, S.C.), 6 p.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The High Point University volleyball team lost in straight sets to the University of South Carolina on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 18) in the final non-conference game of the Panthers’ schedule.

“We no-showed today, plain and simple,” head coach Ryan Meek said after the loss. “We played some of our best volleyball of the year yesterday and then did not bring any effort or focus to the court today. South Carolina was fantastic but we didn’t meet the challenge physically, emotionally, or competitively. It was a very disappointing end to our non-conference schedule.”

Dylan Maberry led the Panthers in kills for the fifth straight match, finishing with nine on the day and a team-best .308 hitting percentage. Mackenzi Thornburg picked up 14 assists for her sixth match leading the team in helpers in a row. Maberry, Gabrielle Idlebird, and Madison Smith each picked up two blocks while Jenny Wessling tallied seven digs.

The Gamecocks dominated the match from the start and never let HPU gain any momentum. High Point only hit .141 in the match while South Carolina connected at a .494 clip. The Panthers trailed for almost the entirety of the first two sets, with their only lead coming after Idlebird put home a kill on the opening rally.

It was a different story in the third set as the score was tied six different times and High Point never trailed by more than six. HPU hit .282 in the third set alone and sided out at a rate of 63% in the frame. Maberry had eight of her nine kills in the final frame and hit .533 in the set with no errors on 15 attempts.

The frame was tied up at 6-6 before the Gamecocks built a lead. HPU cut the deficit down to two at 13-11 and was within two again at 23-21 after a South Carolina ball handling error. USC made it to set point on the next rally and held the Panthers to just one more point to take the set and secure the sweep.

High Point begins the conference portion of its schedule next weekend with a trip to USC Upstate and UNC Asheville. HPU returns to South Carolina to visit the Spartans on Friday (Sept. 24) at 6 p.m. before heading up to the mountains to face Asheville on Saturday (Sept. 25) at 2 p.m.