COLUMBIA, S.C. – Clemson (3-2) was just a point or two away from sweeping the first day of the Carolina Classic, however the Tigers fell short in five sets (26-28, 25-17, 25-20, 22-25, 15-17) against Furman (3-2) after defeating Winthrop (1-4) in five (24-26, 25-13, 24-26, 25-21, 15-12) to begin the day.
“The loss was our second of the season in which we outscored our opponents,” said head coach Hugh Hernesman. “We’re putting ourselves in a position to win matches, now we just need to execute more consistently. However, We’re really excited about how we came back to win the Winthrop match, and how the team continues to improve.”
In the opening match of the tournament, Winthrop fought back in the first after facing set point to take the opening set against the Tigers, 26-24. Clemson came back with a statement in the second, defeating the eagles 25-13. Annie Carter fueled the surge, hitting .600 while Jaden Light and Keely Hayes recorded four block assists each. Despite the shift in momentum, the Eagles managed to come back and win the third 26-24, again after facing set point. However, for the second time in a week, Clemson fought back to take the final two sets, 25-21 and 15-12.
In sets Clemson won, the Tigers hit .304 or better, including 17 kills and a .452 hitting percentage in the fourth. Hayes fueled the offense, dishing out 53 assists and set Clemson’s pin hitters to hitting percentages of .300 or better. Leah Perri, Kailey Harvell and Carter all finished with double-digit kills. Harvell and Carter were consistent throughout the match, while Perri exploded to fuel the comeback in the final two sets.
Perri hit .500 in the fourth with eight kills and proceeded to kill five balls on seven errorless swings for a .714 hitting percentage in the fifth. In that two-set stretch, Perri hit .571 with 13 kills, fueling her third 20-kill match of the season. Harvell wasn’t far behind with 17 kills in the match with a team-leading .344 hitting percentage. Perri wasn’t far behind, hitting .340 on the day. Harvell and Perri each had three aces as well. Carter registered her second career match with 10 or more kills. The redshirt sophomore threw down 12 kills on 30 swings with just three errors.
Light enjoyed the best match of her young collegiate career, denying the opposition seven times while Kennedy Wilson-Talmadge tied her career-best performance with 22 digs.
To finish the day, the Tigers had Furman on the ropes after falling 26-24 in the first. The Tigers responded in the second with a 25-17 victory, and went on to hit .318 in the third and take the set 25-20. Furman refused to give in with a comeback in the fourth to force a fifth set with a 25-22 score and eventually defeat the Tigers, 17-15.
Clemson hitters struggled to find an answer for the Paladins as they posted their lowest hitting percentage of the season, with a .197 percentage. However, it was the second loss of the season in which the Tigers outscored their opponent. Perri led the way with 13 kills and 13 digs while Carter and Harvell finished with 12 and 11 kills respectively. Dejhana Cotton hit .312 with seven kills and seven blocks, Carter was next in line with her .250 hitting percentage. Sydney Moseley matched Perri with 13 digs and Hayes set the offense for 43 assists.
The Tigers finish the tournament tomorrow, September 4 with a 1:30 p.m., matchup against South Carolina.
September 22, 2023
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September 20, 2023
September 19, 2023