Cavaliers Drop Five-Set Thriller to Clemson
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Clemson Tigers rallied from down two sets to win the next three straight and defeat the Virginia volleyball team, 3-2, in Memorial Gymnasium Saturday evening. The Cavaliers (8-7, 0-3 ACC) won the first two in extra points, 27-25 and 26-24, respectively, before defending ACC Champion Clemson (9-5, 1-2 ACC) responded with three consecutive victories, 25-15, 25-18 and 17-15.
“Obviously we’re disappointed,” head coach Lee Maes said. “We had every opportunity to win the match. We fought really hard for two games and we just couldn’t sustain a certain level of effort. Clemson played better in games three and four, but again we had an opportunity to win the match in game five. We’re in a situation where we’re trying to find someone to step up and make plays for us and be the difference maker.”
Second-year Kendahl Voelker (Fort Myers, Fla.) and fourth-year Shannon Davis (Austin, Texas) paced the offense with 17 kills each, while third-year Brittani Rendina (Lisle, Ill.) collected a career-high 29 digs. Fourth-year Marlow Bruneau (Lakeville, Minn.) dished out 33 assists and second-year Kelly Irvin (Pacific Palisades, Calif.) had 24. Bruneau also contributed a season-high six kills and four blocks.
Third-year Lauren Dickson (Austin, Texas) tallied 15 kills and 18 digs for her seventh double-double this season, second consecutive, and third-year Tara Hester (Naperville, Ill.) put in a solid all-around effort, knocking down a season-high seven kills and collecting a career-high 22 digs.
Second-year A.J. Cushman (Richmond, Va.) rounded out the Cavaliers with double-digit digs, tying a career-high 18.
For Clemson, Jeannette Abbott led all players with 18 kills and dug 11 attacks. Kelsey Murphy dished out a match-high 52 assists and Didem Ege had 26 digs. Brittany Fennell registered a rare double-double, knocking down 10 kills and collecting 10 blocks.
Despite falling behind early in the first series, the Cavaliers rallied behind Cushman’s serve for a 7-0 run, bringing Virginia back into the game with a score of 24-22. Kills by Davis and Dickson enabled the Cavaliers to take the lead and capture a 27-25 victory.
At an even 22-22 score, Clemson pulled ahead 24-22. Back-to-back kills by Dickson held the Tigers at set point before a ball handling error on Clemson and another kill by Dickson secured the win for Virginia at 26-24.
Clemson went on a 6-0 run early in the third set to give the Tigers a six-point lead over the Cavaliers. A series of service and attack errors by Virginia allowed Clemson to draw further ahead and end the series with a 25-15 win.
The Tigers pulled ahead early in the fourth series, taking a 22-14 lead over the Cavaliers. Virginia made a late attempt to come back with kills by Hill and Voelker, but Clemson’s Proctor made three kills and helped secure a 25-18 win for the Tigers.
The Cavaliers and Clemson battled back and forth in the fifth series resulting in a tied game at 15 all. A service error by Virginia and a Clemson kill gave the Tigers the game at 17-15 and the overall match win.
Virginia will head on the road for its next four matches, beginning with Boston College on Friday and Maryland on Saturday. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.