Oct. 1, 2007
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. - The USC Upstate volleyball team will take to the road once more on Tuesday night, as it ends a four-match road stanza at the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's Winston-Salem State. The Lady Rams have posted a 3-14 mark this year, beating Savannah State twice in five games. Winston-Salem State has had two other similar opponents as the Spartans, losing to both Hampton twice and South Carolina State three times. The Lady Rams are led by both Annika Barnwell and Ashley Harris, who each average 1.98 kills per game.
Travel Partner Duel
The Spartans will have an abbreviated Atlantic Sun Conference weekend as East Tennessee State will travel to the Hodge Center on Thursday night for the lone league game of the week. The Lady Bucs, who are the Spartans travel partner in the conference, have started out hot in conference play, going 3-1 in A-Sun play. Amanda Youell leads the Lady Bucs, averaging 8.79 assists and 2.23 digs per game as the team's setter. Gametracker, through upstatespartans.com, and live streaming, through asun.tv, will be available for the match.
A Career Night
Sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco posted a career-high night on Tuesday at The Citadel, posting 24 kills for the Spartans in the four-game win. Ambrisco hit a heavy .351 in the contest and she posted a hefty nine kills in the Spartans' third-game win. The Iowa City, Iowa, native posted four points in a five-point swing the left the Spartans with a 16-15 lead en route to their 30-28 win. During the Spartans last three matches, Ambrisco has averaged 4.40 kills per game and hit at a .321 clip.
Putting The Team On Her Back
After missing three games with a back injury, junior Jovana Lubura returned to the Spartan lineup on Tuesday at The Citadel. Lubura posted a 13-kill, 16-dig match for her second career double-double in the four-game win. Lubura posted many key kills during the match for the Spartans, including the game-winning kill in the third game. During the three-match week, Lubura averaged 3.11 kills and 3.00 digs per match.
Freshman Sandra Campbell posted a career-high 12 kills at Lipscomb on Saturday. The Orlando, Fla., native has become a remarkable part of the Spartan rotation during the season, averaging 1.85 kills and 0.55 blocks per game. Campbell had twice posted 11 kills during a match, but thanks to six kills in the first game against the Lady Bisons, she was able to surpass the high. Campbell averaged 2.62 kills during the three-match week.
Several Spartans are among the Atlantic Sun Conference leaders, including sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco, who is seventh in kills per game, averaging 3.30. Freshman Megan Healey is seventh in service aces per game at 0.45 per game and sophomore Katie Downey is seventh in points per game, averaging 3.84 per game.
After leading the Spartans in digs in her first 10 career games, freshman Megan Healey finally didn't finish first on the digs tallyboard, with junior Holly Mauldin leading the squad with 12 digs against Presbyterian on Tuesday. Healey has posted three 20-dig matches this season, including a career-high 26 against Wofford on Aug. 25. The St. Louis, Mo., libero leads the Spartans with an average of 3.69 digs per game, which entered is ninth in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The freshman has posted 10 or more digs in 13 of the 16 matches this year.
Sophomore Jesicah Ambrisco has found a slot on the All-Tournament teams in each of the last four Spartan tournaments. She was named to the Peach Belt All-Tournament Team as a freshman after averaging 14.5 kills and 3.5 digs per match during the Spartans' run to the tournament semifinals. In the season opening Fatz Cafe USC Upstate Volleyball Tournament, Ambrisco added 32 kills and 11 digs during the three matches to earn All-Tournament honors. She followed that by taking All-Tournament honors at the UNC Asheville Classic, Ambrisco posted 32 kills (.319 hitting percentage) and 11 digs in two matches. Once again, she earned a slot on the All-Tournament Team at the S.C. State Spikefest Tournament, posting a team-high 37 kills and leading the Spartans to a 2-1 mark in Orangeburg.
A Classy Bunch
While USC Upstate athletes have had a history of success in the classroom, there is no doubt that volleyball has been one of the most successful athletic programs in the classroom. All six returning athletes have GPAs above 3.0 and all six were recognized on the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll during the 2006 season. While juniors Jennifer Joraskie (graphic design major), Jenna Leslie (nursing major) and Holly Maudlin (physical education major) earned the award for the second time in their careers, sophomores Jesicah Ambrisco (elementary education major), Morgan Bucciferro (communications major) and Katie Downey (special education major) earned the honor for the first time.
Welcome to the Club
Head coach Jennifer Calloway enters the Division I ranks this year already with a lengthy resume that includes 240 career wins, two NCAA Division II Tournaments and two Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year awards. In fact, she is one of just two coaches in Division I with more than 200 wins less than 35 years of age, along with fellow Atlantic Sun Conference coach Deane Webb of Belmont. Calloway, who reaches the age where she can be elected President in January, became head coach at her alma mater at the age of 23 in 1996 after one year as a student assistant.