CLEMSON, S.C. – Clemson volleyball head coach Michaela Franklin earned her first win in as many tries as the Tigers’ head coach Friday night in Jervey Gym as Clemson downed Bethune-Cookman, 3-1, in the annual Big Orange Bash tournament. Junior outside hitter Kailey Harvell led the Tigers’ effort, tallying 18 kills, while hitting .424. Kaylin Korte, a transfer outside hitter from Illinois, earned a double-double with 13 kills and 15 digs. Junior middle blocker Megan McGinley also reached double-digit kills, adding 10.
“I thought Megan [McGinley] got hot towards the end when we really need her to,” Franklin said after the match. “In tight moments, most importantly, she was demanding the ball, which is really impressive. I thought Kailey [Harvell] did a good job of starting off hot. She faded a little, but then she came back, and that’s very impressive to be able to do that.” Franklin added, “I thought Kaylin [Korte] had a nice night reaching double digits, having a double-double in both kills and digs.”
The Wildcats jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the first set, but the Tigers stood their ground, scoring the next four points, three of which were assisted by junior setter Caroline Pearson, a transfer from Arizona State, to even the score, 10-10. Clemson came back to claim the first set, 25-21, in large to Harvell’s six kills.
The Tigers carried momentum into the second set, rallying off six straight points to take an early 6-0 lead. A service ace by McGinley later in the set gave Clemson its largest lead of the match, 19-7. The Tigers went on to claim the second set and a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room at the break.
Bethune-Cookman cut the lead to 2-1 after Wildcat freshman outsider hitter Jordan Jefferson totaled five kills in a close third set. With Clemson down by one point, 19-18, the Wildcats tallied four straight points to extend their lead to five, which was too great a deficit for the Tigers to overcome. Bethune-Cookman went on to take the set, 25-23.
Clemson took care of business in the fourth set, jumping out to a 10-6 lead, which the Wildcats could not recover from. Clemson was led by Korte in the final set, who racked up five kills, all of which were assisted by Pearson. 19 of Pearson’s 57 assists came in the fourth and final set, which the Tigers won, 25-20.
Friday’s win snaps a 12-match losing streak for the Tigers, dating back to last season, when Clemson edged Boston College in five sets on Oct. 16.
The Tigers will face Jacksonville (1-0) at 12:30 p.m. and Lamar (0-1) at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Dolphins and the Cardinals squared off in the first match of the Big Orange Bash on Friday in which Jacksonville defeated Lamar, 3-1.
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