Volleyball beats Clemson 3-2 on Senior Night

On Friday, Nov. 26, the Tech volleyball team hosted Clemson on Senior Night in the team’s final home game of the season. It took five sets, but the Jackets sent off their seniors with a win, 3-2.
Senior libero Jordan McCullers had six assists in the game and finished her Tech home career by recording 13 digs, moving her into fourth place in Tech’s record books. Senior setter Mary Ashley Tippins, who was named to the All-ACC team the day before, was also instrumental in the victory as she had 52 assists and 15 digs. The 52 assists moved Tippins into third place on Tech’s all-time assists list.
“It was very important for us as a coaching staff to let [McCullers and Tippins] believe that they were great players. They have done that and ,most importantly, they have passed that down onto the younger [players]. The [players] just thrive on that,” said Head Coach Tanya Johnson.
In the match’s first set, Tech jumped out to a 5-1 lead, but the Tigers came roaring back with a 5-1 run of their own. An impressive 7-2 run for the Jackets extended their lead to 13-8. The two teams traded points for the remainder of the set, but Tech’s seven-point cushion allowed them to win the first set 25-19. The Jackets used their superior hitting (.303) to dispatch the Tigers who only hit .226 for the set.
Clemson dominated the match’s second set en route to a match tying 25-18 set victory.
Clemson jumped out early in the set, scoring the game’s first six points. The Jackets went on a small four-point run of their own, but Clemson used its four blocks in the set to extend its lead out to nine at one point in the set.
From this point, it was clear that the match would become a back-and-forth like match similar to the two teams’ 3-2 match earlier this season.
“I knew it was going to be a typical Georgia Tech versus Clemson match with the game coming down to five sets. I’m just proud that our players could [continue to] bounce back after a tough weekend last weekend,” Johnson said.
Tech started the third set in similar fashion to the way the Tigers started the second set. With the match tied, Tech started the crucial third set with a quick 5-0 run that included kills from sophomore rightside hitter Monique Mead. Clemson tried to come back, but a 15-5 run from the Jackets closed out the match at 25-12, in favor of Tech.
The fourth set was a back-and-forth type set until Clemson took the lead at 10-6. Clemson went an eight-point run to extend their lead, but Tech came back within reaching distance of the lead, 21-17. Clemson scored one more point than Tech over the rest of the set, and won the set, 25-20.
In the game’s final set, Tech raced out to a 5-1 lead before Clemson took a timeout. Not wanting to get too far behind early, Clemson used its timeout wisely and soon found themselves with the lead at 6-5.
The Jackets used a timeout of their own to get the lead back. Tech had two chances to finish Clemson off, but the Tigers won both of those points to extend the match. Finally Tech won two points in a row to win the set 17-15, and the match, 3-2.
“I knew it was going to be a battle. If we went in thinking that it wasn’t, then we are crazy. We told our kids to go out there and play every point, and I just thought that we did a good job of coming up with the big play when we needed it,” Johnson said.
Along with their seniors, the Jackets used a great game from Mead to help in the win. Mead continued her stellar play throughout the season by adding 19 kills and had a career-high 21 digs.
“[Mead] did a great job. I challenged her defensively to start picking up some tips, and make some big plays, and she certainly did that… I think she is going to do some great things for this program just like our seniors,” Johnson said.

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