BOONE, N.C. – Four Tigers registered double-digit kills to lead the Clemson volleyball team to a five-set victory (25-20, 20-25, 25-22, 27-29, 15-13) over SEC foe Mississippi State (1-4, 0-0 SEC) in Friday’s opening match of the Appalachian Invitational. Freshman outside hitter Solei Thomas registered a team-high 18 kills, the most by a Clemson player in a single match this season. Additionally, the Tigers saw impressive performances by freshman setter Gabby Easton, who totaled 54 assists and 15 digs, and Torie Frederick, who tallied 25 digs in her first career start at libero.
“It was great to get a win in the first match of the tournament and win on the road, especially in a five-set match,” said Clemson head coach Michaela Franklin.
“That’s the first time our team has been in a pressure situation like that. We know that the only way we’re going to learn how to respond in those moments is to be in those moments. I’m proud of the way our group answered and was able to come out with the win. I thought we had big performances from Alyssa Deloney and Solei Thomas, as well as Gabby Easton running our offense.”
In addition to Thomas, freshman Ashtynne Alberts (15), Deloney (12) and redshirt-sophomore Brooke Bailey (10) all reached double-digit kills. Deloney also tallied a match-high five service aces, while sophomore Madi Howell added four as the duo combined for nine of the Tigers’ 11 service aces.
Clemson jumped out to a 6-2 lead early in the fifth before the Bulldogs made a run of their own to even the game, 8-8. It appeared as though Mississippi State would take a 9-8 lead on a Bulldog kill, but Franklin challenged the play, contesting the ball did not touch a Clemson blocker. The officials concurred, giving the Tigers a 9-8 lead and momentum. With the score 14-11 in favor of Clemson, the Bulldogs registered back-to-back points, but a Mississippi State error gave the Tigers the set and match, improving them to 2-2 on the season.
Up next, Clemson faces Appalachian State (3-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) Saturday at 12:30 p.m., which is set to stream on SEC+. Following the match against the Mountaineers, the Tigers take on Davidson (3-1, 0-0 A-10) at 4 p.m. Appalachian State and Wildcats are set to square off against each other Friday at 7 p.m.
For complete coverage of the Clemson volleyball team, follow @ClemsonVB on Twitter and Instagram, and @ClemsonVolleyball on Facebook.
Solei Thomas’s 18 kills are the most by a Clemson player this season … Gabby Easton’s 54 assists are a team season high in a single match … Easton also added 15 digs to earn her second double-double on the season … Alyssa Deloney (5) and Madi Howell combined for nine service aces … Deloney’s five service ace are a team high in a single match this season … Torie Frederick tallied 25 digs in her first career start at libero … Clemson head coach Michaela Franklin won a challenge late in the fifth set that would’ve given MSU a 9-8 lead, but instead gave Tigers 9-8 lead … Franklin is 2-0 in five-set matches as head coach at Clemson … Her other five-set victory came in 2017 against Jacksonville where current Mississippi State head coach Julie Darty was head coach (2014-17).