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No. 13 Yellow Jackets Take Care of Tigers

CLEMSON, S.C. — No. 13 Georgia Tech volleyball (10-1, 1-0 ACC) came out on top in its ACC opener against Clemson (9-4, 0-1 ACC), earning a 3-1 win (29-31, 25-13, 25-15, 25-16) on the road on Wednesday night in Jervey Gym. After dropping the first set in extra points, the Yellow Jackets caught fire en route to a 31-point advantage through the rest of the match as they outscored the Tigers 75-44 the rest of the way with a pair of double-digit victories in the second and third sets.

Senior outside hitter Tamara Otene led the Jackets with arguably her best match since arriving on The Flats, piling up a season-high 22 kills at a .300 clip with 15 digs, a block and an ace for her sixth double double this season. Joining Otene with a well-rounded performance of her own was junior outside hitter Bianca Bertolino with 12 kills, a season-high 17 digs, four aces and a pair of blocks (one solo, one assisted).

Freshman right side hitter Larissa Mendes joined in with double digit kills, picking up 13 at a .400 rate on top of two blocks, three assists, four digs and an ace. Senior setter Bella D’Amico primarily orchestrated the attack, totaling 39 assists, 10 digs, three kills and a block for her fifth double double this year.

Tech’s defense was led by senior libero Paola Pimentel with 21 digs and four assists alongside junior middle blocker DeAndra Pierce with a career-high five blocks and four kills.

The White and Gold were dominant in nearly all phases on paper, owning significant advantages in kills (61-39), hitting percentage (.248-.084), assists (52-35), aces (9-5) and digs (75-56).

No. 13 Georgia Tech at Clemson

September 20, 2023 (Zach Zunt)

How it Happened

The first set was tight throughout as neither side could separate by more than three. Clemson used a three-point run to create a slim gap and lead things 8-5, but Georgia Tech mirrored the effort soon after to gain an advantage of its own at 13-12. The Tigers swung the pendulum back in their direction with a four-point rally, moving back in front, 17-15. Another four straight for Clemson pushed the gap up to 21-17, but the Yellow Jackets would knot things up once again at 21. The match proceeded to extra points, despite Clemson reaching set point up 24-22. As Tech brought it back even at 25 all, the White and Gold would have their own set points at 26, 27 and 29, but the Tigers ultimately rallied with three straight points to clinch set one, 31-29.

After trailing early in the second set, the Yellow Jackets flipped the script from the moment they tied the match at 8 all. The White and Gold won 18 of the final 23 points, including a five-point run and a pair of three-point spurts for a double-digit victory, 25-13, to even the match at 1 all.

Georgia Tech continued to roll into the third set, riding momentum up to a 4-1 start and a 9-5 advantage thanks to a four-point run. Soon after, a six-point streak pushed the set out of hand as the Jackets moved in front, 17-9. Tech later closed out their second straight set by double digits, 25-15, in set three on a kill by Pierce for a 2-1 match lead.

The White and Gold jumped out to another 9-5 advantage in the fourth set, but Clemson rallied this time to even the match at 10 apiece. From there, neither side could separate by more than a couple of points until Georgia Tech claimed the final eight points of the set. Otene added three kills in that stretch, including the exclamation point, as the 25-16 set four triumph sealed a 3-1 match victory.

Up Next

Georgia Tech will return home for its second conference match, hosting NC State on Sunday at 1 p.m. in O’Keefe Gymnasium. The match will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.

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The Alexander-Tharpe Fund is the fundraising arm of Georgia Tech athletics, providing scholarship, operations and facilities support for Georgia Tech’s 400-plus student-athletes. Be a part of developing Georgia Tech’s Everyday Champions and helping the Yellow Jackets compete for championships at the highest levels of college athletics by supporting the Annual Athletic Scholarship Fund, which directly provides scholarships for Georgia Tech student-athletes. To learn more about supporting the Yellow Jackets, visit atfund.org.   

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