GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Clemson Tigers finished with another double-digit blocking match, tallying 11.0, on the way to defeating Winthrop on Thursday afternoon to open the Gators Invitational. The 3-1 victory (19-25, 25-21, 25-18, ), marks Clemson’s fifth win of the season, and fourth with
Clemson was able to get their middles going as Adria Powell and Kate Simington both finished with 12 and nine kills, respectively, while hitting .579 and .438. Freshman Kennedy Wagner led the Tigers in kills for the fourth time this season, clocking 14, while Powell finished with seven blocks (one solo, six assisted). Graduate Mckenna Slavik posted her third double-double with 43 assists and 11 digs, while junior Devan Taylor led Clemson with 12 digs.
Winthrop got the early edge on the Tigers in the first set taking a 13-9 advantage before the first timeout was called. Clemson attempted to cut into the lead with kills from Kate Simington, Kennedy Wagner and Adria Powell, but ultimately, the Eagles took set one, 25-19.
Clemson responded quickly in the second set with redshirt junior Katie Hurta tabbing an early kill that sparked a 5-0 run that included both a solo block by Powell and a combined one with Wagner for the graduate transfer. Winthrop battled back to tie things at 15-all. Powell propelled the Tigers back to the lead, combining for two separate blocks, one with Mia Moore and the other with Hurta. Moore picked up two additional points for the Tigers before Slavik and Wagner ended with back-to-back kills for a 25-21 set win for Clemson.
The third set started as a back-and-forth battle between the Tigers and Eagles until Powell clocked back-to-back kills that forced Winthrop to call timeout trailing by three. The Eagles tied things at 16-all, but aces from Wagner and Devan Taylor, as well as kills from Kate Simington and Hurta pushed the momentum in Clemson’s favor to allow the Tigers to win the set, 25-18.
Moore started things off for the Tigers in the fourth set, but middles, Powell and Simington, followed shortly after with back-to-back kills. Winthrop gained a slight advantage, but Clemson went on a 7-0 scoring run to gain the lead back. Winthrop pulled within one to make it 20-19, but the Tigers closed out the match going on a 5-1 run to take the set, 25-20, and the match in four.
Clemson continues action at the Gators Invitational facing off against host Florida at 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.