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Aug. 28, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The USC Upstate volleyball team used 17-7 run in the first game and never looked back as it handled in-state rival South Carolina State, 3-0 (30-18, 30-17, 30-23), on Tuesday night at the G.B. Hodge Center.
The Spartans (2-2) were led by nine kills, two block assists and two service aces from sophomore Katie Downey (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) and eight kills and three digs from junior Angie Varnum (Salinas, Puerto Rico/New Mexico Military Institute). The team also got steady performances from sophomore Megan Bucciferro (Minooka, Ill./Minooka Community), who posted 16 assists, junior Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo), who added 11 assists and three straight aces in the second game, and Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy), who had 11 digs and two aces.
The Spartans began to rally after the Bulldogs (0-5) closed within 7-6 in the first game, but a kill from sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco (Iowa City, Iowa/Regina Catholic) rallied the Spartans, who then scored two points off the serve of junior Karla Andree (Cypress, Calif./Cypress C.C.). Downey helped close the run by scoring four points off her serve to give the Spartans a 21-12 lead.
Ambrisco finished with all four of her kills in the first game while Downey added three. Bucciferro had seven assists as the Spartans hit .370 (11-1-27) in the game.
The Spartans fell behind 11-9 in the second game, but fought back, eventually going on a 7-0 run keyed by the serve of Mauldin, who had three straight aces during the run to give the Spartans a 30-17 win in the second game. Junior Jennifer Joraskie (Southington, Conn./Southington) closed the game with her second kill, which was second-best on the team to Downey, who had five play-enders in the match. Both junior Tijana Knezevic (Indija, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) and freshman Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point) had two block assists in the game.
In the final game, the Bulldogs held an 18-16 lead but once again, the serve of Mauldin keyed a four straight Spartan points and helped the Spartans close the game on a 14-5 run that featured two kills from Varnum, who led the team with six kills in the third game. Mauldin posted six assists and Healey had two of the Spartans' 10 service aces in the third game.
The Bulldogs were led by Monique Walker, who had eight kills and 11 digs and Erinn Phillips, who posted 23 assists and three digs.
The Spartans will hit the road for the first time this season on Saturday when they head to the USC Asheville Volleyball Tournament, where they will face Western Carolina at 1 p.m. and UNC Asheville at 6 p.m.