CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson (3-3) will host North Dakota (2-4), Tulane (3-3) and East Tennessee State (6-0) in its final home non-conference tournament of the season this weekend in Jervey Gym. The Tigers open up the Clemson Classic with a 7:00 P.M., matchup against North Dakota on Thursday, September 8 and finish its portion of the tournament on Friday, September 9 against East Tennessee State at 1:30 p.m., and Tulane at 7:00 p.m. All three matches will be broadcasted live on ACC Network Extra.
The Tigers are coming off a 1-2 weekend in which it defeated Winthrop 3-0, but suffered a tough five-set loss to Furman and a tight four-set contest with South Carolina. Leah Perri leads one of the hottest offenses in the ACC as the Tigers are currently tied with Florida State for the second best hitting percentage in the conference. As a team, Clemson is hitting .252 in 2016 and is second in the ACC averaging 1.54 aces per set thanks to a conference-best 43 aces on the season.
“Every year we establish our own championship standards for all statistical areas. As I compared those standards this morning to what our offensive numbers are currently, we were almost right at our mark,” said head coach Hugh Hernesman. “So I’m not surprise we’re at that spot, honestly. Our offense has grown and matured immensely. I think Keely is doing a great job in difficult circumstances setting all new hitters and adjusting to the rest of the training and systems, but just as importantly, the work that we’ve put in since the end of last season is paying off. Our decision making is much better and you’re seeing much more balance, which makes preparing for us more difficult for our opponents.”
Perri was dominant in Columbia, hitting .329 on the weekend with 59 kills. The performance was highlighted by a 26-kill effort against South Carolina in which she hit .442 that landed her on the All-Tournament Team. The senior out of Richland, Michigan currently ranks 10th in the nation in points (137.5), 14th in kills (119) and 16th in attacks (297). Her kill total is the best in the ACC and her kills per set average of 4.25 has her second in the conference.
Clemson’s offensive success has been a product of Keely Hayes’ play at setter thus far as the junior transfer has registered 290 total assists, ranking her 7th in the nation and first in the ACC. Her 10.36 assists per set average has her fourth in the conference. Also ranking nationally is sophomore, Megan McGinley. The middle blocker is currently tied for the 20th most blocks in the country with 33 on the season. The total has her tied for the second most in the ACC and her 1.18 blocks per set average has her tied for fourth in the conference.
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