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Nov. 7, 2009
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Junior Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) posted a team-high 12 digs to move into sixth place on the all-time digs list with 1,075 career digs on Saturday afternoon at the Hodge Center, but it wasn't enough to get the USC Upstate volleyball team past league-leading Lipscomb, who won its 21st straight match, 3-0 (25-13, 25-20, 25-21), in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
Healey, who has started for three years at libero, moved past Lindsay Richardson, who posted 1,072 digs from 1994-97.
The match was Upstate's last in the old Hodge Center, having compiled a stout 306-109 (.737) record in the 36-year old gym. The Spartans will move out of the 1,535-seat gymnasium for the 2010 season while the Hodge receives a $4 million facelift thanks to the generous donation of Mrs. Dodie Anderson '81. The Spartans will return to the brand-new Hodge in the fall of 2011.
Both freshman Mindy Quimby (Keenesburg, Colo./Weld Central) and sophomore Morgan Thomas (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) each posted eight kills to lead the Spartans (7-21 overall, 3-14 A-Sun). Quimby added five digs and Thomas posted four digs and a block. Junior Katie Downey (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) added five kills and three blocks and freshman Emily Sanders (Sullivan, Ill./Sullivan) posted 17 assists and two digs. Freshman Paige Weiland (Atlanta, Ga./Marist School) notched five kills and seven digs.
The Lady Bisons (24-3 overall, 18-0 A-Sun) moved one step closer to a perfect regular-season with the win, needing to beat just Campbell and ETSU next weekend to wrap up the 15th perfect season in the conference's history.
Lipscomb jumped out to a 12-4 lead in the first set after a kill by Meghan Hinemeyer and were able to maintain at least a seven-point lead from there, taking the set 25-13. In the second set, Upstate took an 8-3 lead after a kill by Weiland and Weiland added back-to-back kills to make it 15-11, but Lipscomb used Alex Kelly to work back into the match, as she posted two kills and a block on a 6-2 run to tie the set at 17. With the score tied at 18, a kill by Kelly ignited a 4-0 run, helping Lipscomb close out the 25-20 win. In the third set, the two teams battled to a tie at 11 before Lipscomb went on a 9-4 run to take a 19-15 lead. The Spartans cut the lead to two points at 23-21, but kills by Hinemeyer and Erin Pierce closed out the 25-21 win for the Bisons.
Lipscomb was led by Kelly, the preseason A-Sun Player of the Year, who posted 20 kills and 14 digs. Pierce added eight kills, 14 digs and three blocks and Hinemeyer added 10 kills and nine digs. Jake Pease posted 45 assists and added six digs and two blocks.
The match was the final at home for seniors Karla Andree (Cypress, Calif./Cypress C.C.) and Morgan Bucciferro (Joliet, Ill./Minooka Community), who were both honored in a short pre-game ceremony. After the pair presented USC Upstate Adjunct Instructor Chris Hansen and his wife with flowers, the duo were introduced with their families.
Andree has appeared in 55 career matches and earned two letters for the Spartans. A great natural athlete, Andree has 169 career digs and 21 career aces despite fighting illness and injury during her time at Upstate. A transfer from Cypress Community College and the first player in school history from California, Andree made a solid debut with Upstate by posting a D-I era record six aces against Savannah State on August 24, 2007. Andree also earned A-Sun All-Academic honors in 2007 and she maintains a 3.0 GPA.
Bucciferro has carried on Upstate's great tradition of Illinois setters that goes back to when head coach Jennifer Calloway was the team's setter in 1994. The four-year starter has posted 2,235 career assists, which is fourth in school history, while playing in a 6-2 setting rotation during her whole career. The only player in the D-I era with 1,250 career assists, she has notched 21 career double-doubles and also has 611 career digs and 120 career kills. A three-time member of conference all-academic teams, Bucciferro has maintained a 3.8 GPA and is also active in Upstate's SAAC and the Spartan Street Team.
During the match, Andree posted seven digs and two assists and Bucciferro notched two kills, four digs, 13 assists and a block.
Upstate will wrap up its 2009 campaign next weekend with a pair of A-Sun matches, as they travel to Florida Gulf Coast for a 7 p.m. match on Thursday, Nov. 12 before heading to Stetson to close the season on Saturday at 3 p.m.