Boston College volleyball was searching for two things this weekend: its first Atlantic Coast Conference win and an end to a losing streak that has now reached eight games. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they returned to Chestnut Hill with neither. BC’s weekend against one of the best teams in the ACC and one of the worst teams is certainly disappointing for the Eagles, who have not found a consistent groove in conference play.
On Sunday, the Eagles (5-13, 0-8 Atlantic Coast) tackled Clemson (5-14, 0-7) in the hopes of breaking their nine-game losing streak. Clemson was currently tied with the Eagles for last place in the ACC, and this game guaranteed that one of these teams would have its first conference win. BC jumped out to an early lead, and had Clemson scrambling around the court to defend against powerful hits and soft touch. The teams were tied at 16 before the Eagles went on a late 5-1 run. BC closed out the set after a diving dig set up an off-balance kill from Julia Topor.
While the Eagles appeared to be rolling after taking the first set, leading 6-1 early in the second set, the Tigers won four straight points to close the gap. BC went on a run of its own to go up 12-7, but Clemson hung around and utilized BC errors. Neither team could separate itself during the well-played second set—there were very few errors, and most of the points were won by well-placed kills and attacking shots. Clemson had its largest lead of the set at 23-21, and had two set points, but a kill from Camille Oemcke and a Clemson service error tied the set at 24. The marathon set went on until 27-27, when consecutive kills from McKenna Goss gave BC a set win.
The Eagles struggled to make a decisive run and put the Tigers away for good during the third set. Clemson went up 13-10, but errors allowed BC to tie the set at 13, then 14, then 15, and at 16. Clemson jumped out 21-18, but after a long rally in which multiple balls hit the ceiling and bodies were sacrificed, Sophia West’s kill brought the Eagles to within two points. This was as close as BC would get, and the Tigers closed out the set 25-19.
The fourth set started off tight again, with errors keeping the teams close. Clemson’s biggest lead came at 18-13, but BC came back and again got to within two points. Clemson kept its lead, but the Eagles brought the set to within one point after a Tigers attack error, forcing Clemson to take a timeout. Fresh off of its timeout, BC still could not find its late-set push, and fell again to Clemson 25-23.
In the fifth and final set to 15 points, the Tigers went up 7-4 early, aided by three errors from the Eagles. Two consecutive BC errors then gave Clemson a 10-5 lead. BC called a timeout and then strung together four straight points, aided by two errors from Clemson and two kills from Topor and Anna Skold. The Eagles tied the set at 11 after a Sophia West hit found the court, and then took the lead for the first time after another Clemson error. Despite this, Clemson rallied back, and won the third set 15-13.
On Friday night, BC traveled to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech (14-5, 5-2), losing to the Yellow Jackets in four sets. The Yellow Jackets’ serves were not overpowering, with BC returning most of them, and the kills were powerful, but not overbearing. Georgia Tech’s success came from its ability to successfully change the pace of the rallies, finding open court and throwing off the Eagles’ rhythm with short and soft floaters.
The Eagles, down 22-13 late in the first set, fought to try and close the gap, but a Georgia Tech kill down the middle, a BC hitting error, and another well-placed Georgia Tech floater gave the Yellow Jackets a 25-14 set win. Georgia Tech made only one error during the first set, compared to 11 from BC, and Georgia Tech also led in kills, 12-9.
BC jumped out to a quick 5-3 lead in the second set. Strong serving from Madisen Lydon led the Eagles to four points in a row and set the Eagles up to run their offensive plays. The Eagles found their groove offensively early in the second set, forcing the Yellow Jackets to call a timeout at 8-3. The two teams played an incredible rally at 13-10 BC, in which the Eagles and the Yellow Jackets both flew around the court to make diving stops and scrambling digs, until BC ultimately won the point to go up 14-10. Georgia Tech made it interesting at the end of the set, but Jill Strockis’s cross court kill won the set for BC 25-20.
Tied at one set apiece, the third set began close and stayed close, with both teams going back and forth winning points. BC and Georgia Tech were tied at 10-10, but the Yellow Jackets went on a five-point run to take the lead for good. Georgia Tech used its momentum to keep the Eagles at bay, and BC never got closer than four points during the remainder of the set, ultimately losing 25-20. The Eagles only made two errors during the set, but the Yellow Jackets had a 19-11 advantage on kills.
The fourth set was all Georgia Tech, as the Yellow Jackets put together two separate 4-0 runs and jumped out to a 13-4 lead. BC called a timeout to try and slow down Georgia Tech, but nothing could be done to stop the Yellow Jackets. BC was again out-killed during the set 17-8, and Georgia Tech only made 1 error and hit .617 as a team as it ran to a 25-12 win. It was a tough loss for the Eagles against one of the better teams in the ACC, and also showcased the inconsistencies BC has struggled with during the season.