Sept. 14, 2012
THE FLATS – The Georgia Tech volleyball team swept the Clemson Tigers (25-15, 25-20, 25-15) in the ACC opener Friday night at O’Keefe Gym. It marked the first time Tech defeated Clemson since the 2010 season and the first time Tech swept the Tigers since 2005.
Monique Mead and Bailey Hunter led the Yellow Jacket attack with 16 and 15 kills, respectively, and Mead had 10 digs for a double-double. Senior libero Nicki Meyer put up 11 digs and several second-chance balls, adding to Tech’s momentum in the match.
“This week our talk has been about executing and believing in ourselves,” head coach Tonya Johnson said. “They believed. That was one of the things we talked about every day before practice. They showed that tonight.
“It’s nice to come out on the other end, considering the last few times we played Clemson, they handed it to us. It was nice to come out and respond with such intensity and such emotion. I thought that our kids played really hard. Tonight they made the game of volleyball look really simple, because we were just clicking on all levels.”
And set one was full of momentum in Tech’s favor. The game saw a quick 1-1 tie, but the Yellow Jackets made a 7-0 rally behind the serve of Hunter and a pair of kills by each Annie Czarnecki and Courtney Felinski. Tech never looked back and ran away with the set, winning 25-15.
Set two was knotted 7-7 until Tech went on a 5-0 rally thanks to a pair of kills by Hunter and the blocking efforts of Kaleigh Colson and Quinn Evans. Later in the match, the Tigers pulled within two points with the score at 22-20. A Czarnecki kill and a Clemson attacking error put Tech at match point. The Yellow Jackets were able to cap the set thanks to a huge dig by Meyer on a second-chance ball and a cross court kill by Mead.
“I told Nicki before the match ‘you are going to have the match of your life tonight’. I said this is your match,” Johnson said. “I just thought she did a really nice job of being disciplined and passing. It was one of the first matches where she was consistent from beginning to end.
“Kaleigh Colson ran a great offense and picked the right hitters every time. I thought she had big defensive plays and big blocks when we needed them. “
Colson had her first solo block of the season in the match and tied her career-high with five blocks. Czarnecki had a career-high two solo blocks.
Tech hit at a .355 clip in set three, while holding the Tigers to a .133 hitting percentage. Three Yellow Jackets hit over .400 led by Mead’s .571. Czarnecki recorded five of her total eight blocks on the night in game three alone to help Tech win the deciding set, 25-15.
The Yellow Jackets are back in action on Sunday at 1 p.m. when they take on Georgia State. The match will be available on Gametracker and can be heard live on WREK 91.1 FM. All-access subscribers can watch the contest via Ramblinwreck.com.