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July 10, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - As USC Upstate prepares to enter NCAA Division I competition beginning this fall, the volleyball team will do so with seven newcomers that have signed to carry Upstate into the new era in Spartan athletics under the guidance of 12th-year head coach Jennifer Calloway.
Upstate will have three student-athletes that will enter as true freshman - Sandra Campbell (Pilot Point, Texas/Pilot Point), Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) and Angel Ward (Bethune, S.C./North Central) - while four enter as juniors after playing two seasons at junior colleges - Karla Andree (Cypress, Calif./Cypress College), Tijana Knezevic (Indijija, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute), Jovana Lubura (Belgrade, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute) and Angie Varnum (Deming, N.M./New Mexico Military Institute).
"We wanted to bring in a balance of experienced players and we think we have done that," Calloway said. "I think this group of girls is coming to Upstate focused on their role and possible impact on our program. That is the first step to our success. We are all floating on uncharted waters at this point. We will have to wait and see what happens. The A-Sun is a tough volleyball conference and, of course, we would like to make a few waves."
Campbell, a three-year letterwinner and two-year starter at Pilot Point High School, earned first-team All-District and District Middle Blocker of the Year honors as a senior, thanks to her 487 kills. A 6-1 middle blocker, Campbell also earned All-Area honors and was named to the Denton Ryan Kickoff Classic All-Tournament team as a senior and was a second-team All-District Team as a sophomore. She was also active in club volleyball, playing for the Dallas Summit 18 Kaepa National Team in 2007 and playing with the Core 18 Black National Team in 2006. Campbell also earned two letters with the Pilot Point basketball team and earned six Academic All-District honors (three each for volleyball and basketball).
Healey, a 5-7 defensive specialist/libero, was a three-year letterwinner at Ursuline Academy. She led the team in digs as a senior, averaging 3.09 per game for Ursuline, which won 22 matches. As a junior, Healey earned the team's 110 Percent Award. As a sophomore, she was named the team's Rookie of the Year. She was a member of the St. Louis CYC Volleyball program for six year, heading to nationals with the program twice. Also active in her school's student council, Healey was a member of the National Honors Society, the Clown Club and was an asssitant coach for the St. Catherine Laboure Parish Volleyball club.
Ward, a 5-8 defensive specialist, was a member of the 2A/1A South All-Star Team and a South Carolina Coaches' Association of Women's Sports Class A All-State Team member in 2006.
Andree, a 5-7 libero/outside hitter, comes to Upstate after two seasons as a starter at Cypress College. In 85 games during her sophomore year, Andree posted 169 kills and added 360 digs, an average of 4.86 per game, which was in the Orange Empire Conference's top 10. She also had 26 aces, 14 blocks and 23 assists. As a freshman, Andree finished the season in the top 10 in conference for digs per game (3.51) and was second on the team in kills per game (2.45) and third in total kills (191). At Kennedy High School, Andree earned the team's Most Valuable Player honor twice while earning All-league Honorable Mention and second-team All-League honors. She also participated in track and soccer.
The Spartans have signed three student-athletes from the New Mexico Military Institute, all of whom were vital parts in leading the Broncos to two NJCAA Regional appearances and a school-record 23 wins as freshmen.
Lubura, a 6-2 outside hitter, was one of the most decorated players in NMMI history, as the outside hitter racked up all-conference and all-region awards in both her campaigns. As a freshman, she was ranked in the nation's top ten in kills per game with 3.97 and followed that by averaging 3.5 kills per game as a sophomore. She capped her junior college career by being named to the NJCAA Regional V Tournament All-Tournament squad.
Knezevic, a 6-0 outside hitter, anchored the right side of the Broncos offense over the past two seasons. She averaged 2.06 kills per game as a freshman and 1.41 as a sophomore, helping her earn all-conference honors twice. Also outstanding in the classroom, Knezevic was the junior college's valedictorian.
Varnum, a 6-0 middle blocker, averaged 0.99 blocks per game and 1.97 kills per game as a freshman. As a sophomore, she improved to 2.02 kills per game and 1.11 blocks per game. She was named to the all-conference team twice and was named to the all-region team as a sophomore.
Upstate finished the 2006 season with a 23-11 record, the eighth time in 11 seasons under Calloway that the Spartans have posted 20 or more wins. Under Calloway, Upstate made back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2000 and 2001, the only two NCAA Tournament appearances in the history of the program.