Volleyball Sweeps North Carolina Sunday
CLEMSON, S.C. – The Clemson volleyball team swept North Carolina, 26-24, 29-27, 25-20, Sunday afternoon in Jervey Gym. Clemson’s win over the Tar Heels Sunday marks its first victory over UNC since 2009. Redshirt sophomore Brooke Bailey led the Tigers in kills – with a match-high 15 – for the fifth consecutive match. With the win, Clemson improved to 13-12 overall and 4-8 in ACC play, while the Tar Heels fall to 5-16 overall and 1-11 in conference matchups. Clemson has now won its last three ACC home matches, a first since 2013.
“I’m seeing a lot of growth in our team – on the court and off the court,” said Clemson head coach Michaela Franklin. “Volleyball wise, they’ve made that transition to becoming collegiate student-athletes. We’re hitting that point in the season where a lot of the hard work we’ve been putting in throughout the course of the season is starting paying off. I also really like the way our team has started to respond in tough moments.”
Clemson won a closely-contested opening set, which saw 11 tied scores. Freshman Ava Pritchard led the charge with four kills on just six swings along with and three block assists. Bailey also registered five of her 15 kills in set No. 1.
Both teams remained even midway through the second before the Tar Heels sparked a 12-5 run to take a 22-15 lead. UNC had the Tigers cornered with match point (24-20) in its favor, but Clemson sided out to put Clemson freshman Katelyn DeGuzman behind the service line. DeGuzman’s first serve was a service ace as she served on the next three possessions to shift momentum in favor of the Tigers. A kill by North Carolina setter Hunter Atherton put the Tar Heels up, 27-26, but Clemson fought back to win the next three points, including a kill by freshman setter Gabby Easton (40 assists) to end the set.
“We have an extremely determined group. What’s most impressive is not just the mental part, but the way we started executing in those tight moments, taking care of the ball on our side of the net one contact at a time, siding out, and then being aggressive on the end line, especially Katelyn DeGuzman. For her to come in and fire up some points for us late in that second set, we’re not surprised by that because we believe in her and she’s capable of doing.”
Clemson found itself trailing again (20-18) late in the third. Franklin signaled for a timeout after UNC had won four of the last six points. Coming out of the huddle, the Tigers fired off seven unanswered points, to close out the set, 25-20, and match.
Additionally, the Tigers tied their season high of 12.0 blocks for the second straight match. Junior libero Emily Curtis tallied 15 digs – her season high in a three-set match.
Up next, Clemson returns to Jervey Gym on Friday, Nov. 2 as the Tigers host Virginia (7-15, 3-9 ACC) at 7 p.m. Friday’s contest against the Cavaliers serves as the annual IPTAY Day match and kicks off Alumni Weekend (Nov. 2-3).