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Tigers Fall in Five-Set Season Opener

Aug. 28, 2009

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CLEMSON, SC ( – The Clemson Volleyball team fell in their season opener to South Carolina, 3-2 (20-25, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21, 9-15), despite registering four players with double-digit kills. The match was played in front of 2,175 fans at Jervey Gymnasium for the Solid Orange Event.

The match was no doubt one of the highlighted matches in the Big Orange Bash, which also includes the College or Charleston and Winthrop. Action resumes Saturday with College of Charleston meeting South cArolina in a 10:00 am match, and the Tigers playing Winthrop at noon. The teams then swap opponents, with Winthrop and South Carolina going head to head at 4:00 pm and the Tigers and Cougars closing out the event at 6:00pm. Admission is free to all matches.

The rivalry match was hotly contested all night, as the teams were only able to garner more than a 6 point edge two times the whole night. The Clemson faithful were out in full force to cheer on the Tigers, who fall to 0-1 in 2009, while the Gamecocks start their season with a hard-fought win.

The Tigers were led offensively by Lia Proctor, who tallied 15 kill in the match. However, Tiger freshmen Brittany Fennell also recorded a career-high 11 kills in the match against only two errors in 21 chances for a .429 mark. Didem Ege bumped her consecutive double-digit digs streak to 46, notching 25 on the night, and passed the 1700 dig mark for her career.

The Gamecoacks were led by Hannah Lawing, who tallied 20 kills in 48 attempts, with only two errors. Ivana Kujundzic had 18 kills, 25 digs, and three aces. Bridget Benson-Dorman had 58 assists, 15 digs, and four kills, as she guided her offense to a .250 offensive night. The Tigers hit only .209, recording 24 attack errors. The Tigers defense was aggressive, picking up nine total blocks in the form of 18 block assists.

The Gamecocks rushed out to a 5-1 edge in the first set before the Tigers tied it at nine with an Ege service ace. South Carolina was able to use two kills and an error by Patzin to move ahead 14-11, a lead they would not relinquish, taking the first set 25-20.

Clemson promptly responded, taking a 6-0 lead in the second set. After the gamecocks closed to 9-6, the Tigers roared with a 8-2 run to take a commanding 17-8 lead. South Carolina continued to claw their way back into the set, reeling off seven straight points to take a 22-21 advantage. But, the Tigers were again up to the challenge, as Fennell picked up two kills and an assist as Clemson closed out the set, 25-22.

In almost a mirror image to the second set, it was the Gamecocks who jumped out to a 7-0 edge. The Tigers closed to 12-9 after consecutive Cansu Ozdemir kills. The teams traded points, with Carolina taking a 22-18 lead. Again, the Tigers responded with a 4-0 run, but we shut down by two kills from Lawing and an error of their own.

With the Tigers leading the fourth set, 14-11, Carolina struck with a 5-0 run to take the lead. After the teams traded consecutive points, Gamecocks had a 21-18 lead. But, the Tigers dug in, reeling off the next seven points in a row to win the fourth set with senior Lia Proctor serving. During the run, Fennell recorded back-to-back-to-back block assists.

The deciding set saw the Gamecocks find their offense, recording seven kills in 13 attempts with no errors, a .538 mark. Meanwhile, Clemson had four errors and only six kills in 21 chances for a .095 hitting percentage.