Nov. 9, 2007
CLEMSON, SC – Danielle Hepburn posted a career-high 24 kills without committing an error and also added seven block assists in leading the Clemson volleyball team to a 3-1 upset of #14 Duke on Friday night. A record-crowd of 2,200 witnessed the Tigers rebound from a loss in game one to complete a season-sweep over the Blue Devils, as Clemson won a five-game thriller in Durham earlier this year.
The Tigers now boast a 24-3 overall record and remain atop the ACC standings with a 17-1 ledger.
“Danielle was the difference tonight,” Clemson Head Coach Jolene Jordan Hoover said. “Duke just couldn’t defend her.”
Hepburn, a junior from Miami, FL, was one of four Clemson hitters in double-figures, while senior Leslie Mansfield recorded a double-double with 13 kills and 14 digs. Meghan Steiner had 16 on the night and Jeannette Abbott also added 13 kills.
Libero Didem Ege matched a personal best with 32 digs to lead the defensive effort. Setter Sue Eckman tallied 11 on the night.
“The success this season has truly been a team effort,” Hepburn said. “We have so much talent. Kelsey sets some great balls and she and I just connected tonight.”
Rachel Moss led Duke (20-6, 15-3 ACC) with 20 kills while Jenny Shull totaled 25 digs and Ali Hausfeld had 62 assists.
The Blue Devils capitalized on an early five-point run in the first game that proved to be the difference, as Duke held off the Tigers for the remainder of the set for the 30-26 victory.
Game two then saw Clemson take the early lead at 11-6 before the Blue Devils cut it to just one at 17-16 on a kill by Becci Burling. However, the Tigers prevented Duke from scoring back-to-back points the rest of the way while going on a pair of three-point runs themselves. Steiner and Mansfield each recorded a kill and then teamed for a block in the first to put Clemson ahead, 24-18, and two Hepburn kills during the second gave them a 28-20 advantage. Hepburn also posted the Tigers’ 29th point while Abbott sealed the 30-22 victory with a kill.
With the Tigers on top, 13-8, in the third game, the Blue Devils ran off six straight points for the slight edge. The teams battled throughout the remainder of the set, as Duke erased another four-point Clemson advantage to knot the score at 22 apiece. With the crowd rallying behind them, the Tigers scored the next three points before the game was again tied at 26-26 and 27-27. A service error returned the lead to Clemson and Hepburn downed another kill for point #29. Carrie DeMange posted a big kill for Duke, but Mansfield recorded an even bigger one to give her team the 30-28 edge and a 2-1 lead in the match.
“The crowd was huge factor tonight, especially in the third and fourth games,” Hoover stressed.
The energy of the fans helped the Tigers carry the momentum into the fourth game and they quickly built a solid lead. Hepburn recorded a kill and followed with an ace to give the home team the ultimate advantage at 6-4, as Clemson controlled the rest of the game. The Tigers limited the Blue Devils to just a pair of two-point runs and used a four-point stretch of their own to open up an eight-point margin at 20-12. Hepburn posted points 23-27 with five kills and Clemson endured four Moss kills to claim the game, 30-20, and its 24th victory of the season.
Clemson will play its final two home matches of the season next week, as Miami and Florida State travel to Tigertown. The Tigers and Hurricanes will meet on Thursday, Nov. 15 before Clemson plays host to the Seminoles on Friday night.
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