Volleyball wins two in Clemson

The volleyball team traveled to South Carolina on Sept. 17-18 to participate in The Clemson Classic against Florida A&M, Georgia State, and Clemson.

The Lady Jackets opened their 2010 ACC schedule against the Tigers (8-2, 1-0 ACC) with a hard fought match that went to five games. Tech (5-5, 0-1) led the first set early, but the two teams battled back and forth until the Jackets went on a strong 7-2 run, to take their largest lead of the set, at 19-14.

Tech went on to win 25-21, as Clemson had no answer late for the front-court trio of sophomore rightside hitter Monique Mead, junior outside hitter Bailey Hunter and freshman outside hitter Jennifer Percy. The trio combined for nine kills and the team racked up a .216 hitting percentage for the set.

The second set was tied early at 5-5, but the Tigers answered by going on an 8-0 run that put Tech behind for good. The Jackets put up a strong effort late in the set, fighting all the way back to 20-15, thanks in part to the continued air attack led by Mead, who had four kills, but Clemson was too much, winning 25-19.

The third set was dominated by the Jackets, with Tech going on an impressive 10-3 run after being tied 7-7 early. Clemson never got back in the game as the Jackets cruised to an easy 25-16 win, powered by five more kills by Mead and a staggering .406 hitting percentage.

The fourth set proved to be the turning point as Clemson changed the tempo of the match and rolled to a 25-16 win, in which the Jackets hit a paltry .167, while the Tigers hit .304, their highest mark of the day.

The match had gone back and forth and it came down to the fifth and final set. Tech kept Clemson at bay for most of the match thanks to strong play from the back-court which hammered out several digs, especially senior setter Mary Ashley Tippins, senior libero Jordan McCullers, and sophomore outside hitter Susan Carlson. The three ladies combined for 38 digs, on top of Tippins’ solid 49 assists.

But with the score 12-10 in favor of the Jackets, a few balls fell the wrong way and Clemson squeezed out a 15-13 win.

After the disappointing opening loss to Clemson, the Lady Jackets still had two games left on the docket. The first was against Florida A&M (0-8).

Tech came in to the game inspired and fired up from the loss to Clemson. The Jackets stepped up and played an excellent defensive match, recording 14 total blocks.

Once again Mead had an outstanding game, with six digs and eight block assists to go with 12 kills, which led the team.

Tech led for the entire match and the Jackets downed the Rattlers in straight sets. The official score was 25-18, 25-18, 25-10.

The last match of the tournament was against Georgia State. The Jackets easily dispatched the Panthers, rolling over them in three straight sets, 25-19, 25-16, 25-21.

Mead hit .516 for the match and was named to the All-Tournament team along with freshman Jennifer Percy. Percy added 11 kills on .500 hitting. Hunter also had 10 kills for Tech on .421 hitting while adding six digs. McCullers also had a match-high 13 digs.

This tournament leaves the Jackets with a record of 7-5 and 0-1 in the ACC conference play. They will look to rebound in the ACC standings against Duke on Friday, Sept. 24 and Wake Forest on Sept. 25.