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Exclusive: Potential milestone secondary for Hoover

Exclusive: Potential milestone secondary for Hoover

CLEMSON—Jolene Jordan Hoover is tired of milestones.After celebrating her 400th victory as the head volleyball coach at Clemson two weeks ago, Hoover is going for win number 500 of her coaching career as her Tigers take on Georgia State and Georgia Tech on Thursday and Friday, respectively, in Atlanta as a part of the Courtyard Classic.Currently at 499 wins, Hoover does not want the team’s trip south to be about her. Instead, she wants her team to demonstrate an ability to rebound after a pair of difficult road losses.“We need to respond to the position we’ve put ourselves in right now,” Hoover said. “We need to respond by being tougher on the road, tougher mentally, tougher when we’re in tough environments. We’ve talked about how teams come in here and play well in Jervey when we’ve got the crowd and we’re on top of them. We need to be that same type of team when we go to places.”The Tigers have won back-to-back matches after dropping a pair to in-state foes Furman and South Carolina, which Hoover says has put a slight damper on a strong 6-0 start. While her team is now 8-2, she says she wants to see more as the Tigers transition from the non-conference portion of the schedule (Georgia State) to the conference slate (Georgia Tech) with their matches this week.“The thing I tell them is that we need to get Clemson better,” Hoover said. “Every time we step out on the court, let’s get Clemson better, regardless of who’s on the other side.”Opposition aside, Hoover knows there is a lot riding on her team’s trip to Atlanta. She is looking for her team to make a statement against a Yellow Jacket squad the Tigers defeated in both head-to-head matchups last season. Historically, the series between the conference rivals has been extremely close, with five-set matches being the norm until last season.Because of the closeness of the rivalry and the talent that exists on both sides, Hoover knows it is imperative for her team to learn the lessons taught by defeat in road losses to the Paladins and the Gamecocks in time to face both Georgia State and Georgia Tech.“On the road, you’ve got to focus,” she said. “You’ve got to narrow your distractions. You’ve got to be in the moment with your team.”Not surprisingly, Hoover is thinking about the long-term development of her team as she embarks on this two-day trip. The coach hopes to come back with 501 career wins, but this trip is not about her, in her eyes. The ultimate goal for the Clemson volleyball program this week is to prove itself with its eyes on the prize.“I want them to be solid on the road,” Hoover said. “When you’re on the road, you’re probably not going to get an all-American performance. You understand that. But we shouldn’t play below our standard, and our standard is pretty good.”

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