Radford University’s Highlanders Volleyball Falls Short to Clemson Tigers

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By Zachary Potter | zpotter2@radford.edu

Radford Volleyball lost in four sets against Clemson in the sweet 16 of the NIVC Tournament. It marked an end to their impressive year, which included the programs first ever post-season win.

The Highlanders performed strongly in the first set, leading Clemson 6-5. However, Clemson would bounce back and gain a 10-7 lead. But Clemson held firm and won the set as Radford couldn’t close the gap for the rest of the first set. Clemson up 1-0.

Radford was able to come out strong again and post a 6-4 lead early in set two. Thanks to some nice kills from Valerie Gonzalez and Amaya Rousseau, the early lead was a good boost in the set. However, Clemson bounced back again leading the set 9-7.

Radford still continued to press on in this competitive set and climbed to a 16-14 lead. Yet again, Clemson scored five-straight points, something the Highlanders couldn’t overcome for the rest of the set, losing narrowly 25-22. Clemson up 2-0.

Clemson seemed like it would walk away with a quick win and send Radford packing home early. Though that was not the case. The Tigers jumped out to an early 15-11 lead, pushing the Highlanders ever closer to desperation. Thanks to some nice play from Gonzalez, Rosseau, and Mallory McKnight earning two kills apiece, Radford charged ahead with a 9-5 run.

The match wasn’t over just yet and Clemson proved once again they were going to be tough to beat with a score of 24-22. Radford was now in desperation mode as one more point scored against them would end their season and see them swept in three straight sets. The Highlands refused this and went on to score three straight points making the score 25-24.

In the next play, the Tigers evened out the score at 25, seeming to never quite go away. McKnight and freshman Kylie Tuxford provided two consecutive kills and Radford won the set 27-25. Clemson still up 2-1 sets.

Radford had played well and strong throughout the match and was now one set away from tying the match at two sets apiece. However, the fourth set would prove unlike the first three. Radford still managed to start the set out strong, trailing Clemson 6-5.

Though the Tigers would rally from there and push to a 7-1 run. The Highlanders ran out of gas from that point and could never recover losing the fourth and final set 14-25.

The Tigers held the Highlanders to a match-low eight kills. While also holding the Highlanders to zero hits for the entire set. Clemson wins the match 3-1 advance to the Elite Eight and knocking Radford out.

Though the match ended in a loss, the Highlanders still can look back on their 2018 season as a success which included their first ever post-season win against Appalachian State.

Radford will end their season with a 22-7 record, while also being 12-4 in the Big South Conference.

Seniors Gonzalez and Rosseau will be missed after an impressive year which showed in the final game of the year. Though this season may be over, we will look on to next year and see if the Highlanders can add even more post-season wins and even an NCAA Tournament bid.

Photo Credit: (RU Athletics)

Zachary Potter

Senior at Radford University, Sports Editor for the Tartan and a Media Studies concentration in Journalism.