Photos by Emily Goad, Clemson Athletic Communications
CLEMSON, S.C. – Freshman Solei Thomas (19 kills) and redshirt-sophomore Brooke Bailey (18 kills) combined for 37 kills to lead the Clemson volleyball team in a four-set triumph (25-18, 25-22, 26-28, 25-14) over Radford (22-7, 12-4 Big South) Friday evening in Jervey Gym. With the win, the Tigers improved to 19-14 overall and advanced to the Women’s National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC) quarterfinals. Clemson is set to square off against College of Charleston, which defeated Georgia Tech in Atlanta Friday evening, on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in Jervey Gym. Tickets for Thursday’s match against the Cougars can be purchased for $8 per person at the front doors of Jervey Gym. Clemson students with a valid student ID and kids under the age of 18 will receive free admission.
“I thought tonight we continued to do a good job of taking care of the ball on our side of the net, which reflects in our side out game,” said Clemson head coach Michaela Franklin. “We were very efficient tonight, hitting .384 as a team, had quite a few players hitting above .300 and had multiple players hit well above .400. I was really proud of the way we continued to rally on. Radford’s a very gritty team that gets touches on the ball, keeps the ball alive, and that tends to frustrate teams. We just hung in there and stayed focused on taking care of the ball.”
Clemson took the first after hitting .500 for the set on 17 kills, 30 swings and just two errors. Bailey led the way offensively with five kills on eight swings. The Tigers were also strong defensively, siding out 83 percent of the time when receiving Highlander serves in the opening set. Radford posted five unanswered points in the middle of the second to secure a 12-9 lead. Clemson responded with a run of its own, taking a 19-17 lead, which prompted a Highlander timeout, but the Tigers went on to take set No. 2, 25-22. Coming out of the break, both teams were neck-and-neck throughout the third. Clemson had match point, 24-22, but the Highlanders came back to force extra plays before claiming the third, 28-26. The Tigers responded in the fourth, forcing eight Radford hitting errors as Clemson claimed the set easily, 25-14, and match.
“Before the match when I talked to the team, I said, ‘we’ve reached that point in the season where as coaches we get to sit back and let them do their thing because with their experience, they know what it takes now. They know what they need to go out there and do, and now they’re going out there and doing it. That shows a lot of growth within our group and the focus that they have to be able to execute those details.”
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