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Aug. 24, 2007
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - After more than two years of waiting, the USC Upstate volleyball team kicked off the school's Division I era in fine style, posting a convincing 3-0 win against Savannah State (30-10, 30-12, 30-15) in the first game of the six-game Fatz Café USC Upstate Volleyball Tournament at the G.B. Hodge Center on Friday afternoon.
"I felt like they were ready for that match," USC Upstate head coach Jennifer Calloway said after the win. "There was a lot of excitement. We were trying to get everyone relaxed before the game because there was so much support from the athletic department, from the university, the fans, that I was worried about it overwhelming the girls. But we loved it and I think they embraced it well."
The Spartans (1-1) lost the nightcap on the first day of the tournament, 3-1, to the U.S. Naval Academy (30-18, 30-19, 22-30, 30-25), despite a double-double effort from junior Holly Mauldin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo), who posted 17 assists and 10 digs in the loss.
The Spartans lost their first point in the Division I era, on a kill by the Tigers' Donna Jenkins, but quickly gained their first Division I era point on a kill by sophomore Katie Downey (Houston, Texas/Westfield) on an assist by sophomore Morgan Bucciferro (Joliet, Ill./Minooka Community).
The Spartans traded the next five points with the Tigers (0-2), falling behind 4-3 before posting a 7-0 run behind the serving of junior Karla Andree (Cypress, Calif./Cypress C.C.). The Spartans stayed in control from there, closing out the game by scoring 27 of the final 34 points.
Bucciferro led the Spartans with six assists in the game, while sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco (Iowa City, Iowa/Regina Catholic) posted five kills.
It was more of the same in the second contest, as Upstate took a 4-0 lead and sprinted to a 30-12 win. Four players posted three kills each in the game, with freshman Sandra Campbell (Orlando, Fla./Pilot Point (Texas)), junior Jovana Lubura (Beograd, Serbia/New Mexico Military Institute), junior Angie Varnum (Salinas, Puerto Rico/New Mexico Military Institute) and junior Jennifer Joraskie (Southington, Conn./Southington) joining the attack for the Spartans.
Upstate closed the match with a 30-15 win in the third game, leading from wire-to-wire in the contest. Bucciferro and junior Holly Maudlin (Columbia, S.C./Irmo) combined for 11 assists and Campbell, Downey and Ambrisco each had three kills. Freshman Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) added a game-high four digs for the Spartans.
Ambrisco led the Spartans with eight kills while Campbell raked in six and Downey, Lubura and Varnum each had five. Bucciferro posted 14 assists and Mauldin added 13 helpers. Healey led the team with nine digs in her debut.
The Spartan service attack proved especially effective, posting 17 aces in the match, including six from the hand of Andree. Healey and Bucciferro each added three.
The Tigers were led by Donna Jenkins, who had six kills and Danielle Richardson, who had seven assists.
The Spartans fell behind, 2-0, to Navy before storming back with a third game, 30-22 win over the Midshipmen (1-0). The Spartan attack in the third game was led by four kills each from Downey and Lubura. Bucciferro and Mauldin each posted five of their identical 17 assists on the night in the game and Healey posted four digs to pace the Spartans.
The win set up a dramatic fourth game that saw five lead changes and 10 tie scores, with Navy winning 15 of the last 25 points to win the match after the score was deadlocked at 15. Lubura posted four kills and both Mauldin and Healey had five digs in the final game for the Spartans.
Bucciferro posted 17 assists for the Spartans abd Downey led the team with 13 kills and six blocks in the game. Lubura added 10 kills and Healey had a team-high 14 digs.
Navy was led by a double-double from Jessie Sims, who posted 11 kills and 16 digs. Setter Marissa Watson added 52 assists and 11 digs for the Midshipmen.
The Spartans will wrap up the Fatz Café USC Upstate Volleyball Tournament on Saturday with a 7 p.m. game against crosstown rival Wofford, who also handled Savannah State, 3-0, in the second-game of the tournament (30-10, 30-12, 30-15). Wofford starts the second day of the tournament with a 1 p.m. match with Navy before Navy plays Savannah State at 3:30 p.m.