BOILING SPRINGS – Taylor Lilliard (Victorville, Calif.) racked up double-digit kills, but Gardner-Webb fell to High Point in straight sets, 3-0, Friday night in Big South Conference play.
"Our girls are improving, we played two very good sets against a strong High Point team." stated GWU head coach Leo Sayles after the contest. "Lillard gave us a great offensive effort and I felt we were very good defensively, but must be able to create a little more offense. We also need to finish our opportunities in tight sets. We are still in a battle and have games left to move up the conference standings, as long as the girls keep improving and compete each game."
High Point (14-5, 5-1 BSC) took the match by scores of 25-22, 25-21, and 25-13, keeping Gardner-Webb (10-11, 1-6 BSC) to a .094 hitting percentage and 30 kills, while attacking at a .230 clip with 45 kills.
Leading High Point in kills was Haley Barnes with 12, while both Barnes ad Megan Kennedy led the team with 17 digs. Jordan Hefner earned seven blocks on the evening, while Jenna Smith picked up 20 assists.
The opening set consisted of several runs for both squads, as Gardner-Webb and High Point each had multiple runs of four or more consecutive points scored. The Runnin' Bulldogs opened the initial set with a 7-2 run, capped by a block by Dyson and Molly Johnston (Lubbock, Texas). High Point answered with six consecutive points to claim an 8-7 advantage, yet GWU responded with a 6-2 spurt to go up 13-10. The Panthers reclaimed the lead after a 7-2 run to go up by a 17-15 score. GWU would tie the score four times throughout the remainder of the set, but would wind up dropping the opener by a score of 25-22.
Action was tightly contested in the second set, with ten ties and seven lead changes in the early portion of the frame. GWU held a 9-7 lead following a pair of smashes by Taylor Lillard (Victorville, Calif.), yet High Point responded with a quick 4-0 spurt to go up 11-9. Gardner-Webb answered with its on 4-0 run, highlighted by kills by Hannah Driscoll (Lake Mary, Fla.) and Lillard to claim a 13-11 lead. The Panthers would then score six unanswered points to take a 17-13 advantage, holding a lead throughout the remainder of the set to earn a 25-21 win.
The third set began with a 9-4 swing in High Point's favor. Gardner-Webb would pull within three points on two occasions, but the Panthers would pull away to take the set by a score of 25-13 and to earn the overall match win.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will hit the court again tomorrow afternoon, hosting Campbell at 5:00 pm.