CLEMSON, S.C. – For the first time since 2014, and the first time at home since 2013, the Clemson volleyball team (5-2) defeated South Carolina (3-3) in the Palmetto Series presented by S.C. Education Lottery. The Tigers took the first, third and fifth sets in the back-and-forth battle to seal the victory.
Clemson was attacking the net both offensively and defensively in the first set. Junior Colleen Finney and redshirt freshman Jacyn Bamis led the charge for the Tigers on the defensive side putting up three blocks each. Offensively, Camryn Hannah and Ani Clark finished with four and three kills, respectively. Freshman Sophie Catalano picked up her eighth ace in four games late in the set to help secure the first set win for the Tigers over the Gamecocks since 2019. The 25-22 set victory also marked the first time Clemson had won the opening set since 2015.
The Gamecocks evened the playing field with a 25-22 second set win after clocking 20 kills to Clemson’s 14. The Tigers attempted to string together point runs with kills coming from Hannah and another ace from Catalano, but every stretch was met by an equal or longer point run by South Carolina.
The Tigers were down but never out in the third set after trailing by as much as six points. Clemson fought to close the gap after calling a strategic timeout after trailing 18-13. Coming out of the timeout, the Tigers went on a 6-4 run which forced the Gamecocks to call a timeout of their own. The timeout wouldn’t matter though as Clemson finished the set on a 12-5 run, including taking eight of the last nine points of the set to take the set 25-23.
The Tigers continued to push in the fourth set as Finney and Bamis picked up three more blocks a piece, but the Gamecocks would force a fifth and deciding set after taking set four, 25-21.
In the final set, Clemson held the advantage hitting .375 while limiting the Gamecocks a -.062. It began with a 6-2 run as Finney, Clark and Cate Long picked up kills for the Tigers. The momentum concluded with Clemson going on a 7-2 run, including Hannah finishing with back-to-back kills, to seal the 15-8 set and match victory.
The Tigers travel to Johnson City, Tenn. this weekend for the Buccaneer Classic hosted by East Tennessee State where they will play three matches against ETSU, USC Upstate and Georgia State. Action begins on Friday at 2 p.m. against USC Upstate.
Photos courtesy of Makenna Biehl, Clemson Athletics