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Sept. 14, 2007
ORANGEBURG, S.C. - Double-digit kills matches from sophomores Jesicah Ambrisco (Iowa City, Iowa/Regina Catholic) and Katie Downey (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) and double-digit dig-efforts from freshman Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) helped lead the USC Upstate volleyball team to a split of its first two matches at the South Carolina State Spikefest Tournament on Friday. The Spartans beat Hampton, 3-1, in their opening match before falling to Wofford, 3-1, in a night match.
The Spartans (3-6) downed Hampton in the first match of the day, 3-1 (25-30, 30-27, 30-26, 30-26), dropping the first game before rebounding with three straight wins to take the match. The Spartans were paced by 15 kills from Ambrisco and 11 each from Downey and freshman Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point (Texas)). Healey added 15 digs and sophomore Morgan Bucciferro (Joliet, Ill./Minooka Community) added 24 assists. Junior Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) added 19 assists.
In the first game, the Spartans took a 22-19 lead, but the Pirates (4-5) responded with seven straight points aided by three kills from Aaryn Harrison to take the game. In the second game, the Spartans fell behind, 23-22, before coming back thanks to three points off the serve of Ambrisco to help clinch the game.
In the third game, the Spartans opened up a 21-18 lead after a kill by Downey and went on to close out the game on back-to-back kills by Downey and Mauldin. The Spartans closed out the win against Hampton in comeback fashion, falling behind 10-5 before Healey served up five straight points thanks to two service aces to tie the match. Upstate also fell behind 22-20 but scored the next four points thanks once again to three points off Healey's serve. After the Pirates tied the match at 24, junior Jennifer Joraskie (Southington, Conn./Southington) clinched the match with four points off her serve. During the final eight points, junior Jovana Lubura (Beograd, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) took over, posting three of her six kills.
Ebonie Vincent led the Pirates with 16 kills and Jasmin Elder added 40 assists. Alyssa Jackson posted 26 digs and Ese Ighedosa added five blocks.
In the nightcap, the Spartans fell to the Terriers (5-6), 3-1 (28-30, 30-25, 25-30, 24-30), despite 12 kills from Ambrisco and 10 kills and nine blocks from Downey. Lubura added five blocks, 12 digs and eight kills in the match. Bucciferro posted a double-double, notching 21 assists and 12 digs and Healey added 19 digs. Downey tied her career-high with nine blocks, posting a career-high seven assisted blocks in the match.
In the first game, the Spartans took an 18-13 lead after eight straight points off the serve of Bucciferro, which included a stretch of six straight blocks, all of which included Downey. However, Wofford fought back to tie the match at 25 and won the match on a kill from Joanna Suddath.
In the second game, the Spartans took advantage of a Wofford service error to take a 24-23 lead and never looked back, scoring the next two points and then, after two Wofford points, closed the match with three straight points. Mauldin closed the game with a kill.
However, the Spartans struggled in the final two games, falling behind 18-13 in the fourth game before Wofford won, 30-25. In the fourth game, Wofford took a 22-14 lead, but Upstate fought back to make it 23-21 thanks to seven straight points off the serve of Healey, who had three aces during the stretch. Wofford closed the book on the match, though, taking seven of the last 11 points to win the match.
Joanna Suddath led the Terriers with 46 assists and Brittany Thompson added a match-high 14 kills. Sarah Palmer had 26 digs for Wofford and Anna Gustafson assisted on eight blocks.
Upstate faces the hosts, South Carolina State (5-7), in the last match of the tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Spartans beat the Lady Bulldogs, 3-0, on Aug. 28 at the Hodge Center.