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Clemson Volleyball Falls in Five-Set ACC-Opener at Georgia Tech

Sept. 11, 2009

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ATLANTA – Clemson volleyball (5-2, 0-1 ACC) took on Georgia Tech (5-2, 1-0 ACC)in the Courtyard Classic on Friday night, falling in five sets (21-25, 25-23, 16-25, 25-15, 8-15) to the Yellow Jackets. Tech held Clemson to a season-low .156 hitting percentage, as Clemson fell to 0-2 in five-set matches and had a five-match win streak halted.

At times, each team looked like it might take control of the match and assert itself in the ACC. For the most part, however, it was Georgia Tech that was able to dictate the pace of the match, recording 70 kills to Clemson’s 44, and recording 63 digs to Clemson’s 50. They were also able to pick up 9.5 blocks, more than half what the team had allowed in the previous six matches combined.

Clemson’s attack was led by freshman Lia Proctor, who added 15 kills. In the third set, a 25-15 Clemson win, the two combined for 12 kills, which accounted for all of the Tigers’ kills in the set. Kelsey Murphy played a strong all-around game, tallying four kills, 32 assists, 15 digs, and six block assists. She is now only two total blocks out of tenth place in Clemson history. Patzin recorded her first career double-double, as she had 11 digs.

Georgia Tech had four players with double-digit kills, led by Bailey Hunter’s 19 and Brittany Roderick’s 15. Libero Jordan McCullers was outstanding, picking up 25 digs in the match. Chrissy DeMichelis had six total blocks (3 BS-3 BA) to go with her 13 kills. Setter Mary Ashley Tippins had 57 assists, as she led Georgia Tech to a .229 hitting mark.

Senior Didem Ege had her double-digit digs streak snapped at 51 consecutive matches, marking the first time since October of 2007 that she was held below ten defensive saves.

Georgia Tech took the first set, 25-21, behind a solid offensive effort in which they Yellow Jackets hit .342 in the set, recording 19 kills. Mary Ashley Tippins had 15 assists in the set, as Chrissy DeMichelis and Brittany Roderick notched five kills apiece. The Georgia Tech defense was equally stout, holding the Tigers to a .185 hitting pct. Lia Proctor had four kills in the set. The win snapped an 11-set winning streak for Clemson.

In the second set, Clemson raced out to a 9-4 lead behind three kills from Proctor and two from Patzin. The Tigers stretched the lead as far as 19-14 on another Patzin kill. With Clemson ahead 22-17 and threatening to put the set away, the Jackets responded with a 5-1 run to pull within one point. A service error by Hunter gave Clemson the 24-22 edge, and a Patzin kills sealed the set at 25-23.

Georgia Tech seized control of the match coming out of the break, taking a 14-6 lead in the set. Two Hoover timeouts couldn’t slow the Jacket attack, which took advantage of four Clemson attack errors. The Tigers were able to pull to within five at 20-15, but were shut down by two consecutive blocks in a mini 5-1 Tech run to close the set at 25-16.

Clemson appeared to be the aggressor in the fourth set, however, using three kills and two blocks from Alexa Rand to take a 7-2 lead. The Tigers maintained a five-point cushion throughout the set, winning easily, 25-15. Patzin had five kills in the set, as the Tigers hit .458 in the set and held the Jackets to a .069 mark.

The fifth set was dictated by Tiger errors. In all, Clemson had five attack errors, as Georgia Tech turned a 3-2 deficit to a 12-5 lead. A Monique Mead ace sealed the match for the Yellow Jackets, 15-8.

Clemson and Georgia Tech have now played three consecutive five-set matches, with the Jackets going 2-1. The Tigers had won the previous two meetings in O’Keefe Gym, which announced a boisterous crowd of 1,176.

The Tigers return to action Saturday as they play Ole Miss (10:30 am) and Southeast Missouri (4:30 pm) to conclude the Courtyard Classic.

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