8 NCAA Tournament Appearances - 19 AVCA All-America Honors - 2 ACC Titles
Great Clemson Teams
The Clemson Tiger volleyball team headed into the 1997 ACC Tournamen seeded fourth in the ACC conference standings. In the 17 years of the ACC Tournament, never had a fourth seeded team won the championship title. This year, things would change. The Tigers were slated to face Duke in the first round of the tournament. The Blue Devils were seeded fifth and in the two prior match-ups between the Tigers and Blue Devils, Clemson came out on top in both matches 3-2, and 3-1. The Tigers seemed to have the Blue Devils’ number beating them once again, this time in consecutive games, 15-11, 16-14, and 15-10. Sophomore Alison Coday led the Tigers with 17 kills, five blocks and a .394 hitting percentage. The Tigers had survived the first round and headed into Saturday’s match scheduled to face the top-seeded and 16th ranked Maryland Terrapins. The Tigers, along with the other eight schools in the conference were unable to beat the Terrapins over the last two years. Maryland had a streak of 35 consecutive wins over ACC opponents including three straight in the 1996 ACC Tournament, and in the last two years the Tigers had been beaten all four times they faced the Terrapins. The Tigers not only downed the Terrapins in the second round of the Tournament and snapped their streak, but they also gave Maryland its first loss of the 1997 season. The Tigers sent the top seeded and 15th-ranked Maryland Terrapins home with a new record of 25-1. There was also another milestone in the victory for the Tigers because this was the highest ranked opponent Clemson had beaten in its history. Pacing the Clemson attack were senior Michelle Thieke who tallied 75 assists, 17 digs, and 4 blocks, along with sophomore Cindy Stern who knocked down a triple-double (22 kills, 11 digs, 10 blocks). Clemson had now gained a spot in the finals and was matched against the thirdseeded Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This also happened to be the first time in ACC Tournament history that a first or second seeded team was not playing for the championship. The Tigers had split during the regular season with the Yellow Jackets, each winning their respective home matches, 3-1. The championship match was also a four-game match with the Tigers winning the latter three games marking the first time Clemson had ever won the ACC Title. Pacing the Tigers in its championship game was Cindy Stern who grabbed 14 kills, four blocks and a .458 hitting percentage. Three Clemson players were honored with selections to the ACC All-Tournament team. Michelle Thieke was the MVP and posted incredible tournament statistics including a combined 169 assists over the three matches. Cindy Stern (47 kills, 20 blocks, 26 digs) and Skye Frost (33 kills, 53 digs, 6 service aces) were also named to the All-Tournament team.
1997 ACC Champions 2013 Clemson Volleyball
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2013 Clemson Volleyball Media Guide; written and edited by Clemson Athletic Communications office.