Nov. 27, 2009
CLEMSON, S.C. – Sophomore Bailey Hunter had career-highs of 20 kills and 11 digs to lead the Georgia Tech Volleyball team (21-9, 15-5 ACC) to a 3-2 (25-23, 17-25, 25-22, 13-25, 15-7) win over Clemson (23-9, 13-7) Friday evening. The Yellow Jackets clinched third place in the ACC with the win and will now await a possible NCAA Tournament bid when the 64-team field is announced Sunday.
“I am so proud of our team for battling throughout the match tonight,” said head coach Tonya Johnson. “Clemson had all of the momentum after the fourth set, but we quickly erased it out of our minds and set the tone by taking the early lead in the fifth. Coming in we thought it was going to be a battle tonight, especially being on the road and senior night, but I’m glad our kids stayed poised and fought to the very end.”
Hunter hit a team-best .304 for her career-high 20 kills, while the 11 digs easily surpassed her previous career-high of six. Senior Chrissy DeMichelis had 18 kills and senior Brittany Roderick added 13. Freshman Monique Mead rounded out the double-figure scoring with 10 kills and nine digs for the Yellow Jackets, just missing another double-double. Junior Mary Ashley Tippins paced the offense with a double-double of 56 assists and 14 digs. Junior Jordan McCullers, meanwhile, added a team-high 28 digs on the night.
In the first set, Clemson took an early 7-2 lead but the Yellow Jackets used a 6-1 run to tie it up at eight. After the Tigers answered with two quick points, Tech answered with four more in a row to take a 12-10 lead and force a Clemson timeout. Later in the set, Georgia Tech led 18-15, but a 5-1 run by Clemson gave it the lead again and forced Tech to call for time. Tied at 23, the Yellow Jackets took the final two points to win 25-23 and go up 1-0 for the match.
The second set was tightly contested with neither team leading by more than two points until a 5-0 run by Clemson gave the Tigers a 20-15 lead and forced Tech to call timeout. The Tigers kept the run going after the timeout and were able to even the match at one apiece. All told, it was a 10-2 run which Clemson used to win.
The third set was also nip and tuck. Clemson led 6-2 early but Tech came back to tie it at seven and the teams traded the next several points. It was tied at 14 when three straight Tech points gave it a 17-14 lead and forced Clemson to call time. The Tigers got within two points twice, but the Jackets were able to close out the set and take a 2-1 lead for the match.
In the fourth set, Georgia Tech held an early 6-3 lead but Clemson responded to go on an 8-2 run to take a 11-8 advantage. After a Tech timeout, Clemson kept the pressure on as it reeled off five of the next nine points and the Jackets had to call timeout again down 16-9. The Jackets did not have a come-back in them and when the dust settled it was a 19-7 run which allowed the Tigers to send the match on to a fifth and deciding set.
In the fifth set Tech built up an 8-4 lead as the teams switched sides for the home stretch. When the Jackets scored the next point to go up 9-4, Clemson used its final timeout as it tried to mount a final rally. Clemson was never able to get any closer than four points and the Yellow Jackets went on to pick up the road win.
The Yellow Jackets will now await a possible at-large section to the NCAA Tournament when the field of 64 is announced on Sunday at 3 p.m. live on ESPNews. Georgia Tech has not made it to the NCAA Tournament since 2004.