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Volleyball Tops UNC In Five Game Thriller

Oct. 22, 1999

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – In a match that lived up to its billing, the No. 14 Clemson Tigers edged by No. 25 North Carolina 3-2 (8-15, 16-14, 12-15, 15-13, 16-14) Friday in front of 1,109 fans at Carmichael Auditorium. The loss snaps UNC’s school-record winning streak of 15 matches and is their first ACC defeat. The Tar Heels record is now 17-4 overall, 8-1 in the ACC. Clemson improves its record to 20-1 and is also 8-1 in the conference.

The Tar Heels, playing without senior starter Asa Gustavsson due to injury, gave a tremendous effort with four players reaching the 20-kill mark and three reaching 20 or more digs. Junior Casey Simpson led the way with 27 kills and 22 digs. Shannon Smith and Laura Greene each contributed 21 kills, with Greene’s being a career high, and Tori Seibert added 20. Eve Rackham led UNC in digs with a career-high 25 and defensive specialist Liz Feldman was just behind her with her own career high of 24. Rackham also delivered 91 assists, which is a career high.

Clemson was led by Alison Coday, who registered a 30-30, with 30 kills and 30 digs. The Tigers’ defense came up big with eight players in double-figures in digs. Cindy Stern followed Coday in digs with 26 and the Tigers were able to out-hit the Tar Heels .227 to .215.

In game one, Clemson jumped out to a 10-4 lead and held control of the game for a 15-8 win. Game two was a different story as the teams battled back and forth. The Tar Heels came out with a 9-5 lead, however the Tigers answered to tie the game at nine. Carolina reestablished its lead at 13-10, only to see Clemson rebound again to tie the game at 14. UNC then secured the final two point and the game at 16-14.

Game three was also tight, as Clemson opened with a 7-4 lead, only to have it vanish for the second-straight game to be tied a nine. The Tigers then regained control with a 4-0 run and finished the game off at 15-12. However, during game three, with Tigers leading 10-9, Clemson lost Jessi Betcher and Skye Frost when their heads collided while attempting a dig. Neither returned to the match, but both returned to the bench.

The Tar Heels took an 11-7 lead in game four before Clemson would tie it at 11. However Carolina persevered and ended the game 15-13 on a solo block by Shannon Smith to force the deciding game five.

After establishing a 9-5 lead, Clemson maintained its lead until the score was 13-9. The Tar Heels used all of their fight to rebound and tie the match-deciding game at 14. However, Clemson would not be denied, it took the final two point of the game and the match.

The Tar Heels had an outstanding blocking night as they had a team total of 18 blocks. Tori Seibert recorded six solo blocks and Shannon Smith moved alone into second place all-time in career solo blocks by adding two for a total of 123. Seibert also made a move in the career standings. Her 20 kills moved her into fourth place all-time with 1,548, passing Kristin Kruse who had 1,547.