Sept. 8, 2007
CLEMSON, SC – Luck was not with the Clemson volleyball team on Saturday, as the Tigers fell in a pair of five-game matches to conclude their play in the Big Orange Bash. Furman notched the morning win (33-31, 20-30, 30-22, 23-30, 15-12), while Purdue outlasted Clemson for the victory Saturday evening (30-21, 26-30, 28-30, 30-28, 15-12).
Danielle Hepburn led the Tigers, now 4-2, with 38 kills while hitting a combined .413 percentage for the day. She was one of four Clemson players to hit in double figures in both matches, joining Jeannette Abbott, Leslie Mansfield and Lia Proctor.
Defensively, Didem Ege tallied 60 total digs and setter Kelsey Murphy added 40 to go along with her 110 assists guiding the Tiger offense.
Proctor tied her career high with 20 kills against the Boilermakers, while Hepburn turned in her second 19-kill performance, but neither was enough to push Clemson past Purdue on Saturday night.
Stephanie Lynch was unstoppable for the Boilermakers, recording 26 kills to lead the Purdue offense. Danita Merlau also went over the 20-kill mark with 23 in the match, giving her a 20-20 evening with 24 defensive saves as well.
Purdue utilized an early five-point run to gain an advantage over the Tigers in the first game of the match and capitalized on Clemson’s serving problems for the 30-21 win. The Boilermakers hit a .387 percentage with 16 kills in the frame, led by Merlau’s six.
The Tigers rebounded with a win in game two to even the match at one game apiece. Trailing 12-9, they rallied for five straight points to take the lead, which then traded hands until Clemson posted back-to-back points to go ahead 20-18. The Tigers then sealed the victory on a kill by Meghan Steiner.
The momentum carried over into the third game for Clemson as the Tigers posted the first six points of the frame. They extended their advantage to as many as 11 points and led by 10 at 27-17. However, the Boilermakers refused to fall easily, rallying for six straight points to narrow the gap to four. Clemson notched their 28th and 29th points but allowed Purdue to reach 28 before closing out the game on a Hepburn kill.
The late run proved to be a turning point in the match, as the Boilermakers then jumped out to an early 6-2 lead in game four. The Tigers fought back but could never quite reach Purdue and the Boilermakers won the game, 30-28, to force a fifth game, Clemson’s second of the day.
Both teams were ready for battle to start the fifth game and the score remained tight until a three-point run put Purdue on top 12-9. The Tigers cut the deficit to one at 12-11 on a kill by Proctor and again at 13-12 after a Hepburn kill. But, the Boilermakers posted the next two points to score the victory and hand Clemson it’s second loss of the day.
In their earlier match, the Tigers suffered a 3-2 loss to Furman despite five players posting double-figure kill totals. The win ended a 34-match Paladin losing streak to Clemson and gave Furman Head Coach Michelle Young her first career victory over her own collegiate coach in Jolene Jordan Hoover.
The Paladins’ Alison West led all hitters with 22 kills and her teammate Stephanie Smith tallied a match-high 33 defensive saves.
Hepburn led the Tiger offense with 19 kills with a .457 hitting percentage. Jeannette Abbott had 10. Didem Ege led the defensive effort with 32 digs.
Game one saw 11 lead changes and five ties with the Paladins prevailing, 33-31. The Tigers held a narrow advantage early in the frame but Furman rallied to tie the score at 20 apiece. The teams then traded points until the Paladins took a 28-26 lead. Clemson then avoided three game points and was ahead 30-29, but Furman held strong and claimed the game.
The Tigers then knotted the match at 1-1 due in large part to two runs early in the second game. They posted four points on the service of Didem Ege for a 15-19 advantage and then recorded five on Mansfield’s serve to widen the gap to 20-11. Clemson survived a Furman run and went on to win the frame by a 30-20 margin.
Furman responded with a 30-22 victory in game three before the Tigers forced the decisive fifth game, defeating the Paladins, 30-23, in the fourth frame.
Clemson held the early advantage in game five, notching three points on the service of Eckman for a 6-2 lead. Furman then scored five unanswered points to gain the edge. The teams were last tied at 8-8, as the Paladins widened the margin to 14-9. The Tigers fought through three match points with clutch kills by Hepburn and Proctor, but the effort fell just short as Furman won the game, 15-12, for the match victory.
In other tournament action, Purdue defeated Florida A&M, 3-0, in the afternoon match to improve to 5-3 on the year. The loss dropped the Rattlers’ record to 0-2.
The Boilermakers pulled out the win in game one, rallying to edge Florida A&M by a 30-28 margin. They then notched victories in the second and third frames by scores of 30-23 and 30-17, respectively, to post the win.
After two days of tournament play, Purdue leads the field with a 3-0 record; Furman is 1-1, while Clemson concluded play at 1-2 and the Rattlers are 0-2.
The final match of the 2007 Big Orange Bash will be held on Sunday afternoon, as Furman and Florida A&M battle at 1:00 pm. The all-tournament team will be announced after the conclusion of that match.
The Tigers return to the court next Friday for a pair of matches in the Clemson Invitational.
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