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Sept. 22, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Playing with a torn meniscus, sophomore Katie Downey (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) did all she could do to put the USC Upstate volleyball team on her back, posting a career-high 17 kills and adding 15 digs and two blocks. However, the Spartans fell in heartbreaking fashion in their Atlantic Sun Conference debut, falling 3-2 (26-30, 31-29, 23-30, 30-26, 15-10) to North Florida on Friday night at the Hodge Center.
Downey, who due to the torn meniscus was relegated to more back row playing during the early portion of the match, posted seven kills in the final two games and shattered her previous career-high of nine digs set against UNC Pembroke on Nov. 3, 2006. The sophomore played the role of a valuable veteran, leaving the floor for only one play during the match.
Junior Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) also posted a career-high with 33 assists and she added 11 digs for her third double-double of the season for the Spartans (4-8 overall, 0-1 Atlantic Sun). Freshman Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point (Texas)) tied a career-high with 11 kills and added a career-high five blocks.
Freshman Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) posted a match-high 20 digs and two service aces and sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco (Iowa City, Iowa/Regina Catholic) added 13 kills, six digs and tied a career-high with five blocks.
The Ospreys (3-11, 1-0 A-Sun) took a 5-1 lead in the deciding game and never looked back en route to the 15-10 win. North Florida hit .400 (6-for-15) in the deciding game and got three digs from Maegan Weisert to seal the match.
With the first game tied at 17, an Osprey attack error opened a string of four straight Spartan points. The Spartans never relinquished the lead after that, as a kill from Campbell with the score 22-21 keyed the Spartans en route to 30-26 win. Healey posted eight digs in the game and Mauldin added 12 assists.
The Ospreys took a 19-11 lead in the second game, but Upstate fought back into the match, drawing within two points after a service ace from Healey made it 19-17. The Spartans fell behind 24-18, but once again fought back to tie the match at 28 after a kill from Campbell. After an Osprey attack error, the Spartans had a chance to serve for the game, but the Ospreys closed the game with three straight points, closing out the game on a kill from Kavie Sturch.
After the intermission, the Spartans charged out of the gate, taking a 21-12 lead in the third game on a kill from Downey. The Ospreys scored eight of the next 11 points, but Mauldin posted an ace and served for four more points to help close the door, 30-23. The fourth game was a back-and-forth battle that saw 14 ties and six lead changes. The Ospreys took control after the score was 19-19 as Claire Yonutas paced the team with three kills in the final 11 team points to help them win, 30-26.
Yonutas posted a match-high 18 kills and two aces to go with 14 digs and Kavie Sturch added a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs for North Florida. Madeline Belvin also posted 51 assists and added 15 digs.
Upstate will stay at home as it will host another Atlantic Sun foe, Jacksonville, on Saturday at 5 p.m. at the Hodge Center.