MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Graduate Adria Powell finished with a career-high 21 points after tallying 14 kills, six blocks and three aces to guide the Clemson Volleyball team to a five-set victory (26-24, 25-17, 23-25, 18-25, 15-8) against Ball State in the Second Round of the NIVC. The Tigers improved to 19-13 on the year to mark the most wins by a Clemson program since 2018.
As a team, Clemson finished with a .333 hitting percentage to mark the second game in a row the offensive has tallied a hitting percentage above .300. Katyerna Tkachenko led the Tigers with 15 kills, and Azyah Dailey contributed 14 to join Powell in double-digits. Mia McGrath finished with a .444 hitting percentage after going 8-for-18 with no errors, and Katie Hurta also contributed eight kills.
Defensively, the team combined for 10 kills with Powell leading the way with six (two solo, four assisted). Dailey and Ava Hewitt tallied four blocks each, all assisted, and Mckenna Slavik contributed three block assists. Devan Taylor and McGrath both finished with double-digit digs, as Taylor clocked 24 and McGrath finished with 14.
The opening set was a back-and-forth bout between the Tigers and the Cardinals. Neither team was able to string together more than two consecutive points until Clemson strung three together to take a 22-19 lead. Ball State tied things at 24-all, but a missed serve by BSU and ace by Taylor sealed the opening set win.
The Tigers forged ahead in the second set by taking a 5-0 lead that had Dailey contributing three of those points with two kills and a solo block. Clemson continued to extend its advantage with Powell clocking a solo block and Slavik adding an ace down the stretch. McGrath and Mia Moore added kills, while Becca Micelle contributed to the Tigers’ ace count, before Powell and Slavik rounded out the set win with a kill each, as well as a combined block.
The Cardinals responded in the third set taking a 10-6 lead, but Tkachenko and Hewitt put the Clemson offense on their backs with an 8-0 scoring run with Powell at the service line. In that stretch, Tkachenko tallied four kills, Hewitt added two and Powell had her third ace of the match. Ball State came back to tie it at 15-all, and the remainder of the set had both teams trading points. In the end, Ball State was able to take the set and force a fourth.
With the neck-and-neck matchup continuing into the fourth, neither team strung together a run longer than two points until the score was tied, 14-all. Ball State put together the largest run of the set to take a four-point advantage, and despite Tkachenko adding multiple kills, the Tigers weren’t able to close in on the Cardinals’ lead that forced a deciding set.
The fifth set was all Clemson after the Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead behind kills from Dailey and Powell, as well as a solo block from Powell. Clemson switched sides after Slavik clocked an ace, and the team finished on a 7-4 run against Ball State to take the match and advance.
Clemson advances to the round of eight of the NIVC tournament. The Tigers will play round three on Dec. 5, 6 or 7th and face the winner coming out of the UTEP region. Exact date, location, opponent and time will be announced following this weekend.