Bottomley, HPU Volleyball Dig Out a Win Over UNCW, 3-0

• Freshman Abby Bottomley racked up 22 digs (7.33/set) in the win while earning a-tournament honors.
• Junior Molly Livingston joined Bottomley on the all-tournament squad after posting 10 kills, seven digs and three blocks.
• Along with Livingston (.358), juniors Jordan Henfer (.333) and Katie Tylman (.318) gave HPU three attackers who hit over .300 in the match.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University volleyball team shut down the UNCW attack limiting its visitors to a .086 hitting percentage en route to a 3-0 victory in the Millis Center on Sunday morning.

The Panthers (5-5) started slow with the A.M. first serve, but responded to take the first set 25-23 behind nine digs from freshman Abby Bottomley. Then, seven kills from junior Katie Tylman kept the pressure on the Seahawks (3-6) in the second set as HPU won 25-18.

The Purple & White finished off the match holding UNCW to just seven kills and a .069 attack percentage in the third set, 25-20.

“I thought we played better as the match went on after we started a little slow,” head coach Tom Mendoza said. “UNCW can be a difficult team to play against because they do a great job of keeping rallies alive and cause a lot of scrambling. But at times we handled those situations well and executed our offenses and at the times we didn’t we scrambled with them and let their scrappiness effect our play. Overall, I thought it was a good way to finish the weekend.”

With Bottomley leading the way with 22 digs, the Panthers registered 58 digs in the match – 12 more than the Seahawks. UNCW, though, posted a 9.5 to 6.0 margin in blocks despite three apiece from juniors Jordan Hefner and Molly Livingston.

“The biggest thing for me was being on my toes ready to go because in the other matches I was kind of digging in ready for hard hit balls and this match I was ready to run them down,” Bottomley said. “When I get a good pass and then someone is able to slam down a kill it fires me up to go again. I feel like today we finally showed our home crowd what High Point volleyball looks like and the energy in the building really boosts our confidence.”

That duo of HPU middles was efficient on the offense side as well. Livingston – who joined Bottomley on the all-tournament team – racked up 10 kills and seven digs while hitting at a .348 clip. Likewise, Hefner provided eight kills with a .333 attack percentage.

Giving the Panthers three hitting over .300, junior Katie Tylman converted 11 of her 22 attempts into kills. In total, the Panthers boasted a 41-29 edge in kills and a .178 to .086 margin in attack percentage.

From the setter spot, sophomore Jenna Smith (22 assists, four digs) and senior Carly Jimenez (15 assists, seven digs) orchestrated the victory.

Rounding out the attack, senior Haley Barnes posted six kills and seven digs while freshman Katie Doering added three kills to go with two from junior Abby Broadstreet and one from junior Adeline Ellis.

With both teams’ attacks getting off to slow starts in the morning match, the match was tied 22-22 after 44 points. However, Livingston provided a spark knocking down two of her six kills in the set to give HPU a 24-23. Doering, then closed the frame, 25-23, with her second kill of the day.

While Livingston and Bottomley’s nine digs led the way in the first set, Tylman took over in the second. The right-side pounded down seven kills as HPU raced out to a 21-11 advantage. UNCW fought back to within six, but High Point held on for a 25-18 victory.

Similar to the first set, the teams found themselves in a tight set midway through the frame. However, after an HPU timeout the team rattled off five straight to build a 17-12 lead and never looked back.

The Panthers are back in action next weekend in the Tussle in the Triad. The tournament’s defending champs play at UNCG on Friday night at 7 p.m. before hosting Navy and Elon on Saturday.

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