No. 2 High Point Wins Big South Volleyball Championship
ROCK HILL, S.C. – No. 2 High Point defeated No 1 Liberty, 3-0, Saturday afternoon to win the 2010 Big South Volleyball Championship presented by Musco Lighting, at the Winthrop Coliseum on the Campus of Winthrop University. The Panthers won their first ever Big South Championship and will earn an automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
The teams began the game trading points until Breanna Holiday’s two aces sparked a 7-0 Panther run, giving them an 11-7 lead. Liberty responded by halting the run and scoring three unanswered, coming within one, 11-10. The teams stayed close, with the Lady Flames tying it up 16-16 after a block from Loren Thomas and Lillie Happel. Despite the pressure from the Lady Flames attack, HPU maintained a lead and closed the set out on an Audie Gonzalez kill, 25-22.
The second set began with ten ties and with neither gaining a significant lead. Two Gonzalez kills sparked the Panthers eight unanswered points to gain their biggest lead in the set 20-12. Liberty rallied to get with a 6-0 run as a struggling High Point could not find the point to close the set and the Lady Flames tied the game up at 24 all. The Panthers found their rhythm, stopping the Lady Flames rally and won the set on a Courtney Johnk and Michelle Chakirelis block.
The Lady Flames jumped to a 7-1 lead to start the third set, after capitalizing on the serving of Jade Craycraft and Panthers attack errors. The Panthers replied scoring five unanswered and taking the lead 11-10. After a back and forth battle, the Panthers scored three unanswered behind a Molly Barlow ace taking a 21-19 lead. Despite Liberty coming within one point (23-23), High Point held on to win, 25-23.
Megan Smith had the game-high 15 kills on the day and set a new High Point Division I record for the most single season kills with 527. Smith was followed by Gonzalez’s double-double with 12 kills 10 digs. The Lady Flames were led by Karyl Bacon with 13 kills followed by Happel with nine.
High Point improves to 21-12, while Liberty closes its season at 25-9.
The Panthers will find out who they will be playing in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, November 28 on ESPNews between 3:00pm.
Megan Smith – High Point
Maddi Simpson – High Point
Audi Gonzalez – High Point (MVP)
Jade Craycraft – Liberty
Karyl Bacon – Liberty
Kelsey Hall – Winthrop
Amanda Hill – Charleston Southern
High Point Head Coach Jason Oliver
“Our team showed a ton of heart, and we are very focused. I want to dedicate this win to the five seniors who stuck with the program and a new coach. To see it pay off is really a dream come true. Amazing.”
Liberty Head Coach Shane Pinder
“Give credit to High Point, serving and passing was really the difference, and they did well in both. They got us out of system with their serves and passes. Other than that, I thought everything was pretty equal.”