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Sept. 1, 2007
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - USC Upstate fell twice on Saturday afternoon at the UNC Asheville Volleyball Classic, dropping a 3-0 decision to Western Carolina (30-26, 30-26, 31-29) in the afternoon before falling 3-1 to host UNC Asheville (30-27, 30-15, 28-30, 31-29) in the nightcap at the Justice Center.
Upstate (2-4 overall) fought back from a 2-0 deficit in the match against Asheville (1-5), winning the third game, 30-28, and fighting to a 28-28 lead in the fourth game before falling 31-29.
Upstate and Asheville fought back-and-forth in the first game of the nightcap, with Upstate taking a 21-20 lead on a kill by junior Jennifer Joraskie (Southington, Conn./Southington) before the Bulldogs reeled off four straight points to take a 24-21 lead. The Spartans fought back to make it 27-26 on a Bulldog set error, but couldn't come any close, as the Bulldogs won three of the last four points to take the game.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second game and never looked back, taking the game 30-15. Sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco (Iowa City, Iowa/Regina Catholic) posted four kills to lead the Spartans in the game.
In the third game, the Spartans kept it close once again, tying the game at 25 after a kill from freshman Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point (Texas)). A kill by Alyssa Greer gave the Bulldogs the slim lead, but Upstate came back after two Bulldog attack errors. The Bulldogs tied the game at 27 but Downey finished off a kill to give the Spartans a 28-27 lead. A service error retied the game, but Ambrisco answered with two straight kills off feeds from Bucciferro to give the Spartans the 30-28 win.
The Spartans took a commanding lead in the fourth match, going ahead 19-12 after junior Jenna Leslie (Houston, Texas/Westfield) served up three straight points, but UNC Asheville closed the gap to 21-20 and the game went back and forth from there. The Bulldogs took a 28-27 lead, but Ambrisco recorded a kill to retie the game at 28. From there, the Bulldogs took three of the next four points with the help of two kills from Alysha Greer to take the match.
Ambrisco finished with 19 kills and Downey posted 15 kills and five blocks to lead the Spartan frontline. Bucciferro set for the Spartans, posting 44 assists and freshman Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) added 10 digs.
The Bulldogs got 22 kills and four blocks from Kelsey Benorden. Lauren Ficker added seven blocks and Rachel Guinane added 62 assists.
USC Upstate fell in the first match of the day, 3-0, to Western Carolina. The Catamounts posted a .262 hitting percentage during the game to help post the win against the Spartans, opening up a 23-14 lead in the first game and never looking back.
The Spartans fought back, scoring 12 of the last 19 points in the first game, thanks to four straight points from the serve of Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo). The second game was a tug-of-war, as Upstate tied the match at 23, but Western Carolina scored seven of the last 10 points, as back-to-back blocks by Meredith Harmon swing the momentum in the direction of the Catamounts.
In the final game, Upstate and Western Carolina (3-3) once again battled back and forth, with no team taking a lead of more than three points during the game. Upstate served for the match at 29-28 after a kill by Angie Varnum (Salinas, Puerto Rico/New Mexico Military Institute), but the Catamounts answered with a kill from Katie Hennessey. Harmon added a kill and a service ace ended the match.
Bucciferro became the first Spartan setter to post 30 assists during the DI era, finishing with 30 helpers. Ambrisco and Downey each had 13 kills, with Ambrisco leading the team with an impressive .407 hitting percentage and Downey added a match-high five blocks. Healey and junior Jovana Lubura (Beograd, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) led the team with 10 and eight digs, respectively.
Liz Jakovljevic posted 15 kills and Harmon added four blocks for the Catamounts. Hennessey added 39 assists and Liz Rondone added 17 digs to lead the team.
The Spartans get back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Athens, Ga., to face the Southeastern Conference's Georgia at 7 p.m.