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Nov. 3, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - For the first time in the Division I era, the USC Upstate volleyball team has won three straight matches after posting a 3-0 sweep of Kennesaw State to close out both teams' Atlantic Sun Conference seasons. The Spartans, in their first year in Division I play, improved to 11-15 overall and 3-8 in the conference while Kennesaw State falls to 4-24 overall and 2-9 in the A-Sun.
The Spartans posted their fifth hitting average of more than .300 on the season and their second straight, posting a .301 average (37-24-114), plus also added 11 aces and six blocks to take care of the Owls, who hit just .114 in the match.
Freshman Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point (Texas)) led the Spartans yet again, posting 12 kills and four blocks while hitting at a .400 clip. During the week, Campbell has led the Spartans to wins over Savannah State and Mercer, averaging 3.55 kills and 1.45 blocks per game. She hit at a hefty .429 clip.
Sophomore Katie Downey (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) added 11 kills and hit a match-high .625, also posting three blocks. Sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco (Iowa City, Iowa/Regina Catholic) added nine kills and two blocks and junior Jovana Lubura (Beograd, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) added eight kills. Sophomore Morgan Bucciferro (Joliet, Ill./Minooka Community) posted 18 assists and seven digs and fellow setter, junior Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) posted 13 assists, four aces and seven digs. Junior Tijana Knezevic (Indija, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) added a match-high nine digs, three aces, three assists and two kills and freshman Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) added eight digs.
Upstate got off to an auspicious start, falling behind 6-1 in the first game, but fought back with a 15-9 run to tie the game at 16 on a kill from Lubura. The Owls rallied to take a four-point lead at 22-18, but a kill from Campbell set up five straight points off the serve of Knezevic, helping the Spartans to a 24-22 lead. Lindsey Plotner fought back with three straight kills, but a service error retied the game at 25. A Downey kill, a Mauldin service ace and a Lubura kill spurred on a 5-1 Spartan run to close the game.
Five kills each from Downey and Ambrisco led the Spartans to a 30-20 second-game win. Upstate also benefited from seven Owl errors, as it built an 18-10 lead. From there the Spartans cruised, closing the game on two Downey kills and an Owls' attack error after the Owls had closed within 27-20.
The Spartans closed the match after the break, hitting .346 (12-3-26) in the final game to cruise to a 30-15 win. Benefiting from eight Owls' errors and posting four service errors, Upstate charged out to a 7-2 lead and never looked back. Downey posted four kills and Campbell and Lubura each added three.
The Owls were led by Plotner, who posted 15 kills and eight digs, and Tara Dillon, who had 28 assists. Jenny Black also added eight digs.
The Spartans will close out the season with two non-conference matches at the Hodge Center this week, hosting Presbyterian on Tuesday at 7 p.m. and UNC Asheville on Thursday at 7 p.m.