Defense leads the way in Tech's win over Clemson

Clemson (7-19 (2-12 ACC)) 25914131
Virginia Tech (9-16 (3-11 ACC)) 142525253
  • Cassell Coliseum - 491

Box Score (PDF)

BLACKSBURG – With both teams entering the match looking for its first win on a Sunday, Virginia Tech’s volleyball squad rose to the occasion by defeating Clemson, 3-1, at Carilion Clinic Court at Cassell Coliseum.

The Hokies (9-16, 3-11 ACC) were paced by middle blocker Stacey Christy, outside hitter Kaity Smith and right side hitter Jaila Tolbert, who combined for 36 of the team’s 50 kills against the Tigers (7-19, 2-12 ACC), while defensively Tech held Clemson to a .108 hitting clip.

Jumping out to an early advantage, Clemson began the match with a 12-7 lead to force a Tech timeout. After the pause in action, the Tigers extended their lead to six at 19-13, causing Tech to burn another timeout. From that point forward Clemson would score six of the next seven points to take the first set, 25-14.

After the first frame, a shift in momentum took place that was sustained by the Hokies throughout the remainder of the match as Tech got it going with a 9-3 lead, causing a Clemson timeout. Out of the break, Tech scored four-straight behind an ace from senior Cara Cunningham and a kill from sophomore Melody Caloyannides.

The Hokies would not stop there after another Clemson timeout as they would score 10 of the next 13 points to take the second stanza, 25-9. The nine points allowed in the set was the fewest given up all season by Tech, topping the previous mark of 10 versus Virginia on Sept. 27.

Tech kept it going following its 16-point victory in the second set, by once again getting up early, 9-5, after an ace from Smith. The Hokies would extend their lead led by Tolbert racking up six kills alone the frame, including back-to-back to guide Tech to a 25-14 win.

To close the match, Tech again started hot by getting out to a 9-3 lead, making Clemson take a timeout. The Hokies would storm off on a 13-6 run to make it 21-9, before Cunningham put down the final kill of the match to clinch it, 25-13.


- Redshirt junior Rhegan Mitchell turned in a 34-assist, nine-dig performance, while chipping in two kills to extend her two kills or more streak to five matches from the setter position.

- Libero Carol Raffety registered her 17th-straight match of 10-plus digs, scooping up 11. The California native also chipped in five assists and a service ace.

- Tolbert hit north of .400 for the 10th time this fall, hitting an even .500 while registering 12 kills, three blocks and two digs. The junior has cracked the 10-kill plateau nine times out of her last 10 matches.

- Caloyannides followed the best match of her career Friday night against Georgia Tech with another career best performance, tying a career-high four kills and setting a new career best in digs with 11, while stopping two attacks at the net for another career high.

- Smith pounded down a team-high 15 kills, marking the ninth time she has put down at least 15 kills in a match and the ninth time she has led the team in kills for a match. The freshman also filled up the stat sheet with having five digs, one block, one assist and one ace.

- Christy recorded nine kills, with only two errors, on 15 attacks to hit .467 – her second-highest in ACC play. The Maryland native also swatted a team-high four attacks, marking her third-straight match of leading the team in blocks.

- Defensive specialist Abby McKinzie chipped in exactly six digs for the second match in a row, marking the sophomore’s best two-match stretch in league action.

- Cunningham posted five kills, three blocks and two service aces. The two aces were her first since Aug. 25 against South Dakota State when she had a season high of four.

- Senior Mandy Powers dished out two assists, marking her first since Sept. 16 against East Tennessee State.


- Tech’s defense brought its A-game against the Tigers, holding Clemson to a .108 hitting percentage behind seven team blocks. It was the second-lowest percentage for an opponent of the season, and the Hokies’ best defensive effort in conference play, beating the previous mark of .163 versus Virginia.



The Hokies will hit the road for the final time in the regular season, as they head to Notre Dame on Friday at 7 p.m. ET and Louisville on Sunday at 2 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech volleyball, follow the Hokies on Twitter and on Instagram @vthokievolleyball Instagram

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