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Oct. 4, 2008
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Down 23-21 in the third set, the USC Upstate volleyball team got a timely kill from sophomore Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point (Texas)) and back-to-back service aces from sophomore Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy), leading it to a 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-23) sweep of Atlantic Sun Conference foe Kennesaw State at the Hodge Center on Saturday afternoon.
After the Spartans (6-10 overall, 3-5 A-Sun) used Healey's aces to take a 24-23 lead, the match was closed as senior Jovana Lubura (Belgrade, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) blocked an Owls' attempt. Freshman Morgan Thomas (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) was credited with the assist, jumping along with Lubura on the right side of the court.
Lubura led the Spartans, notching 13 kills to go with six digs and three blocks. Campbell added 10 kills to go with three blocks, hitting a hefty .444 in the match. Senior Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) posted her second straight double-double with 29 assists and a match-high 10 digs. She also tied her career-high with five kills. Freshman Jane Hawryliw (North Battleford, Sasketchewan/North Battleford) contributed two kills, three service aces and five digs. Senior Jenna Leslie (Houston, Texas/Westfield) added four assists and six digs. Thomas posted a solid overall game with five kills, three aces, three digs and two blocks. Healey posted a match-high four aces and freshman Kelsie Queen (Blythewood, S.C./Ridge View) added five kills.
"Overall, a huge part of it was getting the team to play together rather than just individuals playing well," Campbell said. "After the first set, Jovana came up to me and said, `We're competing' because we both had five kills at that point. Today, we saw more from everyone on the court. All of us came together."
The Spartans leaped out to a 6-1 lead in the first set, as Lubura posted two kills and Healey had two service aces during the run. The Owls (2-14 overall, 1-6 A-Sun) closed the gap to three points at 10-6, but Upstate ran the lead to nine thanks to a 7-2 run led by three kills from Campbell. From there, Upstate never led the Owls closer than seven points, winning the set 25-15.
With the score tied at 13 in the second set, a kill from Thomas and a block from Campbell and senior Tijana Knezevic (Indija, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) helped Upstate during a 5-0 run. From there, the Owls closed the gap back to three at 19-16, but two service aces from Hawryliw helped Upstate close the set on a 6-0 run.
The third set was a back-and-forth affair with neither team taking more than a three-point lead throughout. With the score tied at 18, Kennesaw State used kills from Asjia Stokes and Ginny Frederick to go on a 3-0 run. The Spartans inserted junior setter Morgan Bucciferro (Shorewood, Ill./Minooka Community) into the lineup and she helped close the gap to 21-20 after the Owls had a service error and an attack error. After the teams traded sideouts, she set Campbell up for a kill, leading to Healey's three serves to close the set.
"I think the last two matches have helped us with our confidence," Thomas said. "We know we're right in there with everyone else. We have a good idea of what we need to do to win as a team."
Sabrita Gulley led the Owls with 11 kills. Chelsey Denesha added nine kills and two blocks. Selina O'Leary added seven digs and Ginny Frederick posted 28 assists.
Upstate hosts Mercer at 5 p.m. on Saturday in another A-Sun matchup. The match will also serve as Adopt-A-Student Appreciation Night, with the Spartans recognizing all those who helped support the victims of the Campus Edge apartment fire on the night of July 31.