Sept. 18, 2008
CLEMSON, S.C. – Talisa Kellogg and Callie Miller combined for 48 kills to power Georgia Tech (8-2, 1-0 ACC) to a 3-2 (25-22, 25-20, 22-25, 17-25, 15-13) win over Clemson (6-4, 0-1 ACC) Thursday night at Jervey Gym. With the win, the Yellow Jackets handed the reigning Atlantic Coast Conference champion Tigers just their second league loss since the 2006 season.
The match, which pitted the top two teams (according to the ACC preseason coaches poll) against each other, served as the opening match of the 2008 ACC schedule as well as the first match of the 2008 Clemson Classic, which is being held at Jervey Gym over the next four days.
“It is always a challenge to win on the road, and opening with Clemson in their gym was a daunting task,” said Georgia Tech head coach Bond Shymansky. “But I can’t say enough about the resiliency of our team. Clemson has some very dynamic players and we know that we’ll have our hands full when we see them at the end of the season.”
Tech snapped its two-match losing streak to the Tigers with a balanced offensive attack in addition to spectacular defensive plays from its back row players. The Jackets won the first two sets but were forced to hold off a late Clemson rally after the Tigers earned wins in both the third and fourth frames. With the win, Tech improved to 2-2 on the season in five-set matches, while Clemson fell to 0-4 in matches which have lasted longer than three sets.
The Jackets jumped out to an early 4-1 lead in the fifth set with a pair of kills and a solo block from Kellogg. The Tigers would pull within one point six times through the rest of the match, but could never tie the set as the duo of Kellogg and Callie Miller combined for nine of Tech’s 11 kills in the frame.
“We are finally seeing Kellogg and Miller in healthy form, and they were terminators all night long for us,” Shymansky said.
Kellogg finished with a season- and match-high 28 kills in addition to posting seven digs and four total blocks in the match. The Yellow Jacket senior moved into a tie for ninth place on Tech’s career solo blocks list with a key block early in the fifth set. Miller tied her career high with 20 kills on the night. She hit a team-best .368 while recording three block assists and a match-best four service aces.
Sophomore setter Mary Ashley Tippins ran the offense, posting 65 assists while leading the team with 17 digs for her first double-double of the season. Jordan McCullers added a season-high 16 digs while Michelle Kandell tallied 15 against the Tigers.
“Mash (Tippins) did a great job of directing the offensive game plan, but she couldn’t have done it without the stellar passing from Jordan and Michelle,” Shymansky added. “They were both steely competitors for us all night long.”
Tech jumped to an early 12-6 lead in the first set, but the Tigers battled back with a 9-3 run to tie the Jackets at 15-15. A kill from Alison Campbell kept Clemson from taking the lead, but the Tigers would eventually tie the set again at 17-17. The Yellow Jackets then received back-to-back kills from Kellogg and Brittany Roderick and finished the frame on a 4-2 run to win, 25-22.
With the second frame tied at 15-15, Tech scored six consecutive points to put the set out of reach. The Yellow Jackets cruised to a 25-20 win by splitting the final 10 points with the Tigers. Kellogg hit .600 with six kills and no errors on 10 attempts in the frame while the Jackets, as a team, hit .500 (18-2-32).
Seven lead changes and 16 ties after beginning the third set, the Tigers picked up their first win of the match, 25-22. After Kellogg tied the set at 21-21, Clemson picked up kills from Lia Proctor and Danielle Hepburn and a key block by Lacy Hayes to close out the frame on a 4-1 run.
The Tigers hit a blistering .600 with 12 kills and no errors on 20 attempts to even the match at 2-2 with an easy, 25-17 win in set four. With the Yellow Jackets leading, 4-2, Clemson scored eight unanswered points before Tech ended the streak on a kill from Chrissy DeMichelis. DeMichelis finished with seven kills while hitting .545 against the Tigers. Tech would later pull within two points of the Tigers, but Clemson finished off the set on a 6-2 run to force a fifth set.
The Jacket conclude play in the Clemson Classic Friday afternoon when they meet the Rattlers of Florida A&M at 4 p.m. at Jervey Gym.