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Sept. 26, 2007
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Behind a career-high 24 kills from sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco (Iowa City, Iowa/Regina Catholic) and a double-double from junior Jovana Lubura (Beograd, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute), the USC Upstate volleyball team posted a 3-1 (30-28, 25-30, 30-28, 30-27) win at The Citadel in non-conference action at the McAlister Field House on Tuesday night. The Spartans improve to 5-9 overall and the Bulldogs fell to 2-13 overall.
Ambrisco, the first Spartan to post more than 20 kills in a Division I game, put the team on her back during the third game, posting five kills in a nine-point stretch that helped vault the team to a win. She finished with 24 kills in 57 attempts with just four errors for a .351 hitting percentage.
Lubura, who missed three matches last week due to a back injury, came back to the lineup in a big way, posting 13 digs and 16 digs for her second career double-double. Former New Mexico Military Institute teammate junior Tijana Knezevic (Indija, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) added three kills, four blocks and a career-high 16 digs and junior Angie Varnum (Salinas, Puerto Rico/New Mexico Military Institute) added three kills and three blocks.
Sophomore Katie Downey (Belleville, Ill/Belleville West) posted 17 kills and three blocks and junior Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) finished with a career-high 36 assists, breaking her record of 33 set just four days ago against North Florida. Mauldin added 15 digs for her third double-double of the season.
After The Citadel got out to a 10-6 lead in the first game thanks to a 5-2 run, Upstate responded by going on an 11-2 run that forced the Bulldogs to take a timeout. Downey led the Spartans in the run with four kills and helped the team to a 17-12 lead. The Citadel closed the gap to 25-22 after two straight points, but Lubura answered with a kill. The Bulldogs got as close as one point at 28-27, but a kill by freshman Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point (Texas)) and a Citadel attack error closed out the win. Downey posted seven kills in the game and hit a stellar .600 while Ambrisco added four kills.
In the second game, Upstate got out to a 10-6 lead, but The Citadel roared back, going on a 10-2 run to take a 16-12 lead, forcing an Upstate timeout. The Citadel kept rolling after the timeout, going ahead 21-15, but Upstate got back into the game thanks to a 6-2 run that featured kills from four different Spartans. After a timeout, Upstate tied the match at 23 on two kills from Lubura, but the Bulldogs scored the next three points and were able to take the game, 30-25.
The third game was a back-and-forth affair, with the score tied at 19 before a kill from the Bulldogs' Caitlin Vyborny gave The Citadel a slim lead that grew to 23-20. The teams split the next six points, but Upstate scored the next two points to close within one at 26-25, forcing a Bulldog timeout. The Spartans fell behind 28-26 after the timeout, but two straight Downey kills and a Lubura kill gave the Spartans a 29-28 lead. A Citadel attack error closed out the game for the Spartans. Mauldin added 14 assists in the game to help lead the Spartans in the comeback win.
The Spartans got the lead at 8-7 in the fourth game off a kill from Ambrisco and stretched the lead to 18-13. However, the Bulldogs roared back to take a 24-22 lead after a kill from Rachel Sanders. The Spartans tied the match at 24, but gave up the next three points to fall behind, 27-24. A Lubura kill and three straight blocks from Varnum and Lubura gave the Spartans a 28-27 lead and forced a Bulldog timeout. Ambrisco responded with a kill and the Spartans closed out the match with a 30-27 win after a Citadel attack error.
The Bulldogs were led by Rachel Sanders, who posted 25 kills and 18 digs, and Emily Hill, who had 49 assists and 18 digs. Amanda Beal added eight blocks.
Upstate will stay on the road for the first Atlantic Sun Conference road trip in school history, heading to preseason conference favorite Belmont for a 6:30 p.m. Friday match before playing at Lipscomb on Saturday at 3 p.m.