NEW ORLEANS, La. – The Clemson Volleyball program completed the reverse sweep of UTEP on Saturday afternoon inside Avron B. Fogelman Arena to conclude the Tulane Invitational. The 3-2 victory (14-25, 23-25, 25-19, 25-13, 15-7) marks the first reverse sweep for Clemson under Head Coach Jackie Simpson Kirr.
Sophomore Mia McGrath led the Tigers with 17 points after finishing with 15 kills and two blocks. Redshirt freshman Katie Hurta led Clemson with 16 kills, while freshman Kate Simington rounded out the Tigers with 10 kills and the blocks. Adria Powell clocked a team-high five blocks, and freshman Audrey Armbruster finished with a career-high 38 assists. Devan Taylor rounded out the stat leaders with 12 digs and three aces.
Clemson started strong with Azyah Dailey and Powell combining for a block, but UTEP was able to string together multiple scoring runs that the Tigers weren’t able to match. Simington, Katie Culumovic, McGrath and Dailey made a push to get Clemson back within range of the Miners, but UTEP held out for the 25-14 set win.
The Tigers answered in the second jumping out to a 6-3 advantage behind kills from McGrath, Powell and Dailey. Kateryna Tkachenko added two kills of her own to extend Clemson’s lead, and UTEP called timeout as Clemson led, 12-7. The Tigers continued to inch ahead with kills from Simington and an ace from Taylor, but the Miners tied things at 19-all after back-to-back errors by Clemson. Hurta came up with two crucial points to keep Clemson alive, but UTEP took the 2-0 lead after taking set two 25-23.
Clemson once again got going early in the set behind kills from Simington and McGrath and an ace from Taylor. UTEP came back to take an 8-7 lead, but the Tigers responded with a kill from Tkachenko and an ace from Powell to reclaim the lead. McGrath and Simington combined for a block, followed immediately by Powell blocking one alone to continue Clemson’s momentum. After a timeout, Clemson went on a 9-5 run to lock up the set win, 25-19.
The Tigers’ offense maintained its high energy to string together two different scoring runs of 5-0 and 4-0 to give Clemson an early 10-5 advantage that quickly spurred into a 14-7 lead after Taylor served her third ace of the match. With Clemson firing on all cylinders, McGrath was able to pick up a solo block and a kill. McKenna Gildon kept things rolling for the Tigers with an ace, and Simington sealed the 25-13 fourth with a kill to force a deciding set.
Clemson forged ahead in the fifth set after Dailey added a kill and combined for a block with Powell. McGrath and Simington clocked back-to-back kills as Clemson switched sides, and Hurta took control for the final half of the set with four kills to secure the set and match victory.
Clemson opens ACC play on Wednesday, Sept. 20 in Jervey Gym by welcoming Georgia Tech. Action is slated to begin at 7 p.m. on ACC Network. Admission to the match at Jervey Gym is free.