CLEMSON, S.C. – Despite tying its season high of 13.0 blocks, the Clemson volleyball team fell to No. 10 Pittsburgh in four sets (24-26, 22-25, 25-19, 16-25) Sunday afternoon in Jervey Gym. With the win, the Panthers improve to 25-1 overall and 13-1 in ACC play, while Clemson slipped to 14-13 overall and 5-9 among conference matchups.
“I thought [today] was such a great moment for us to see what it’s like to compete on a national scale,” said Clemson head coach Michaela Franklin. “Our team did a great job of executing on our side of the net. I would’ve liked to see us execute a little bit better in some of those tight moments, but what a great confidence booster even though we didn’t get the result that we wanted. We’re headed in the right direction.”
Redshirt sophomore Brooke Bailey and freshman Solei Thomas tallied 15 kills each. Bailey also posted a career-high seven blocks, including a match-high four block solos. Thomas hit a career-high .467. Additionally, freshman setter Gabby Easton totaled 45 assists.
The first set was a close as it could have been, featuring 18 tied scores and six leads changes with neither team ever leading by more than two points. With the score 23-22 in favor of the Panthers, a kill by Thomas tied the score, 23-23. Pitt and Clemson traded points before the Panthers closed out set No. 1, 26-24, despite 5.0 Tiger blocks. Bailey and Easton led Clemson effort in the opening set with five kills and 15 assists, respectively.
Pitt closed out set No. 2 (25-22) on an 8-2 run. There was plenty of fluid offense on both sides of the net as the Panthers hit .480, while Clemson hit .310. Bailey again led the Tigers with four kills in the set.
Coming out of the break, the Tigers responded immediately, jumping out to an 11-5 lead. With the score 24-14 in Clemson’s favor, Pitt fired rallied off five straight points, prompting a Clemson timeout. A kill by Ashtynne Alberts would seal the set, 25-19, for the Tigers. Alberts and Thomas registered five kills each in the third.
In the fourth, Clemson could not find a rhythm as Pitt took an early 8-2 lead. From there, the Tigers narrowed the deficit, cutting the Panther lead to 20-16 after sparking a late 5-1 run. The Panthers halted Clemson’s momentum, answering with five straight points of their own to seal the set, 25-16, and match.
Up next, Clemson heads to Virginia (7-16, 3-10 ACC) Saturday, Nov. 10 for a 7 p.m. matchup. Saturday’s contest against the Cavaliers is scheduled to stream on ACC Network Extra.
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