Oct. 11, 2013
Front page photos credited to Mark Crammer, Orangeandwhite.com
CLEMSON, S.C. - In front of a rowdy crowd of 1,044 in Jervey Gymnasium, Clemson University volleyball standouts Mo Simmons and Leah Perri put on an offensive clinic as they totaled 38 kills in a 3-0 (27-25, 25-22, 25-21) win over the University of Notre Dame in Friday night Atlantic Coast Conference action.
Notre Dame pushed Clemson in each set, but had trouble containing the potent tandem of Simmons and Perri. Simmons, who leads the ACC with over 4.50 kills per set, pounded home 24 with just two errors in 40 chances to hit .550 for the night. Perri, meanwhile, was extremely efficient with 14 kills and no errors in 21 chances to hit .667. As a team the Tigers attacked at a .333 clip, including a match-high .432 in the second frame.
“Simmons is an incredible athlete that hits at a high level,” said head coach Debbie Brown. “She hits over the block and takes good angles. With Perri we knew she was a strong attacker and we didn’t do a good job of defending her.
“A team has to score points when it’s serving or it’s going to lose and we didn’t do a good job of that tonight. We ran out of subs fast in sets because we couldn’t get a run going. We had a mini-run early in set one and then we couldn’t string together points for the remainder of the set … we switched the lineup to strengthen the block and we had no blocks in the first two sets. That’s very frustrating.”
The Irish (6-10, 0-5 ACC) now must regroup for a quick turnaround as they head to Atlanta for a 7 p.m. Saturday match at Georgia Tech. Fans can watch the contest online at ESPN3 or follow through the gametracker link on UND.com.
“One school of thought that I adhere to is that when you have a loss it’s better to get back out there right away so you don’t have time to sit and think about it. We just have to get out there and play another round and try to fix our mistakes from tonight.”
The two squads had almost identical numbers on offense in the first set as each team had 17 kills and six errors, but the Tigers hit the net hard as they out-blocked Notre Dame 3-0 to help propel them to the first-set win, 27-25.
The Irish looked strong early on, holding a three-point lead as late as 12-9 when McHugh tallied one of two service aces on the set for Notre Dame. However, the Tigers battled back in the middle of the frame to take a 17-15 lead after three consecutive Irish attack errors. Later in the frame Simmons had two of her set-high nine kills on back-to-back points to push the lead to 21-17.
Clemson looked like it was ready to close out the set as they led 24-21, but Notre Dame wouldn’t give up as Brown had a kill and a service ace that bookended a Tiger attack error to tie the frame at 24. Facing set point, Houser pounded home a kill, but an Irish service error and the lone Tiger service ace of the set gave Clemson the 1-0 advantage heading to set two.
The Tigers’ lead increased to 2-0 after a 25-22 win before break. Simmons and Perri continued to pound the Irish as they combined for 10 kills on the set to up their total to 24 (Simmons – 15, Perri – 9) through two frames. Clemson hit .432 in the set by totaling 19 kills in 37 attempts. Notre Dame again looked good early, holding an 11-7 lead after a kill by Simmone Collins and a service ace by Brindock. However, five kills in six points by the Tigers tied the set at 12.
From there the Irish and Tigers went back and forth before Clemson ran off three straight points to turn a 19-18 lead into a 22-18 advantage. Leading 24-22, Simmons finished off the Irish with her 15th kill of the match.
Clemson finished off the sweep with a 25-21 victory in set three. The Tigers started off the set on fire as Simmons had four consecutive kills to make the score 7-1. Later they increased their lead to 11-3 on a kill by Perri. It looked like Clemson would run away with the set, but Notre Dame didn’t give up and made a comeback late in the frame. Down 20-15, Brown had a kill followed by a block from Houser and senior Maggie Brindock and a kill from Houser to trim the Tiger lead to just two. The lead was again cut to two at 23-21 after junior Toni Alugbue and sophomore Hanna Muzzonigro teamed up for a block, but Simmons tallied kills 23 and 24 on the night to finish off the match.
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director