No. 18 Clemson knocks off NC State
Tigers finish regular season with a four-game winning streak
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Clemson’s seniors led the No. 18 Tigers to a fourth consecutive win with a 6-1 decision against NC State (7-15, 3-8 ACC) on Sunday. Seniors Nelly Ciolkowski, Keri Wong, and Josipa Bek each earned wins in their respective matches on Senior Day, which closed Clemson’s regular-season record at 15-8 overall and 8-3 in ACC play. Freshmen Beatrice Gumulya and Romy Koelzer also earned victories for Clemson, who will be the No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament, beginning on April 20.
It was the third consecutive match that Clemson has swept all three doubles matches, and the Tigers are 12-3 this season when earning the doubles point. The Tigers enter the league tournament as winner of six of the past eight overall, with the two losses coming to top-ten opponents. In fact, of Clemson’s eight losses, seven have come to top-15 opponents.
The wins just kept coming for Clemson, who have won the past four matches by a combined 26-2 score. The Tigers jumped out front in all three doubles matches, highlighted by play from sophomores Klara Vyskocilova and Monika Kochanova, who improved to a stellar 23-5 this season, and 8-3 in ACC play. They won, 8-1 against Elisha Hande and Chloe Smith on court three, and are 18-2 there this season.
The clincher came in the form of Clemson’s outstanding freshmen, Koelzer and Gumulya, who won a third consecutive match, and are now 5-3 at flight two this season.
Bek and Wong, ranked 15th nationally, continued their strong play with an 8-5 win on court one, boosting their ledger to 19-7 together this season and 8-3 in the league. Those two have more doubles wins than anyone else in school history, as they have won a total 235 doubles matches, 56 of which have been common wins.
The seniors kept right on rolling in singles play. Nelly Ciolkowski, playing at five, battled with Christy Sipes in a 6-2 win that did not indicate how close the match was. However, Ciolkowski outclassed the Wolfpack sophomore, 6-0, in the second set to become the first singles match on the board, giving Clemson a 2-0 lead. Ciolkowski won a 20th match for the third consecutive season, and has quietly put together a four-match winning streak.
Wong, ranked 50th nationally, frustrated her opponent, No. 30 Joelle Kissell, in the first set with a variety of drop shots and well-placed attacks. She cruised to the 6-1 first set win, and held on for a 6-4 win in the second set to improve to 24-9 overall and 9-2 in ACC play. She has made her bid to earn a third career All-ACC honor.
Gumulya then crashed the senior party, defeating Chloe Smith, 6-4, 6-1 for her eighth consecutive win, and 13th total on the season. Gumulya closed her first season of ACC play at a team-best 10-1 overall, and will be a key cog going forward.
State got one back as Tatiana Illova upended Clemson’s Klara Vyskocilova, who entered the match 63rd nationally and 23-7 this season.
Koelzer the closed with her third consecutive win to up her record to 16-8 overall as she bested Nicole MArtinez in a third-set super-tiebreak, 7-5, 3-6, 1-0(5).