The Clemson volleyball team defeated UAB, 3-1, in the Tigers’ opening match of the Big Orange Bash Friday at Jervey Gym in Clemson.
With the win, Clemson improved to 5-3 on the season and recorded its fourth win in five matches, while the Blazers fell to 6-3 on the year. Freshman right side hitter Solei Thomas posted a match-high 17 kills on 35 attempts to hit .257 for the match. Additionally, redshirt sophomore Brooke Bailey chipped in 10 kills and four blocks.
“It was great to get that first win at home under our belt,” said Clemson head coach Michaela Franklin. “I thought that UAB did a great job defensively of keeping the ball alive. It took us a while to settle down and be able to take care of the ball on our side of the net. Towards the end, we came up with some big blocks when it really mattered. We also saw another great performance by Solei Thomas, doing a good job of scoring and taking care of the ball. Brooke Bailey also had a good night swinging away and creating chaos on the other side of the net to get an easy return on the ball for us.”
Clemson dropped the first set in extra points, 26-24, after being outhit by the blazers .220 to .077. The Tigers responded in set No. 2 as freshman outside hitter Ashtynne Alberts, who registered her third double-double on the season with 15 kills and 11 digs on the night, recorded five in the second. Clemson was down 11-7 in the set before Franklin called timeout. Coming out the huddle, the Tigers rallied off four straight points to tie the game and shift momentum in their favor. Clemson then sparked another rally, scoring five straight points to gain an 18-13 lead before going on to take the set, 25-22.
Coming out of the break, the Tigers took the early lead and maintained it for the entirety of the set. Alberts, Bailey and Thomas combined for 14 of the Tigers’ 17 kills in the set, which Clemson went on to win, 25-22, gaining a 2-1 lead in the process.
The fourth was tight throughout as neither team ever led by more than two points. Clemson had match point with Alberts behind the service line, but a Clemson error knotted the score, 25-25. Freshman setter Gabby Easton, who tallied 54 assists on the night, achieved her fourth match of the season with at least 50 assists, and came up with a timely block to give the Tigers a 26-25 lead. The next play, Easton dimed a pass to sophomore Alyssa Deloney, who recorded the match-winning kill for the Tigers.
Clemson returns to the Jervey hardwood for two matches Saturday, Sept. 8. The Tigers face Troy (4-3, 0-0 Sun Belt) at 12:30 p.m., and North Dakota (5-3, 0-0 Summit) at 7 p.m. Both Clemson matches are set to stream on ACC Network Extra.
“This preseason we really prepared for this moment and I think you could see that last weekend at Appalachian State. There were moments this preseason where we had three practices a day. That was to prepare us for this moment – for that quick turnaround. We gave them the scouting report, the team will review it, get a good rest tonight, and start focusing a good Troy team.”