SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Four years ago, USC Upstate began a journey to join the NCAA Division I ranks and after approval by the NCAA Board of Governors, Upstate will become an active member of D-I on Sept. 1, 2011. With the transitional phase nearly complete, the media relations office takes a look back at some of the top moments of the transitional phase, today's spotlight, volleyball.
On July 1, the top 10 moments of the transition were compiled into an online web poll and thanks to the votes of Spartan fans, the final tally is in. Without any further ado, here are the top three moments of the transitional phase for Upstate volleyball.
Moment No. 3
Upstate downs Savannah State in first-ever D-I match
Aug. 24, 2007
Upstate recorded 17 service aces and allowed Savannah State to tally just 37 total points (a new program record) en route to a 3-0 victory to lift the Spartans to their first win of the D-I era.
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 on an assist by sophomore Morgan Bucciferro.
The Spartans traded the next five points with the Tigers, falling behind 4-3 before posting a 7-0 run behind the serving of junior Karla Andree. 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 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, junior Jovana Lubura, junior Angie Varnum and junior Jennifer Joraskie 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 combined for 11 assists and Campbell, Downey and Ambrisco each had three kills. Freshman Megan Healey 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.
Moment No. 2
Spartans claim 3-1 victory over Stetson in first "home-away-from-home" match of 2010
Sept. 16, 2010
In USC Upstate's first "home-away-from-home" match, the Spartans took on conference rival Stetson and notched a 3-1 victory over the Hatters at Wofford's Ben Johnson Arena.
Upstate was led by Kelsie Queen who grounded 21 kills. Also helping out the Spartans was Cori Harris with 12 kills and Katie Downey with 10. Emily Sanders picked up her tenth double-double of the season with 49 assists and 12 digs while Megan Healey posted 23 digs.
In the opening set, Upstate picked up the first point off a Downey kill but did not lead long as Stetson pushed a 10-4 run on the Spartans. Picking up steam against its conference foe, Upstate found momentum on a 20-5 run led by Queen to take the lead, 24-15 and close out the first set ahead, 25-19.
Coming out of their first set with some energy, Upstate led 10-7 in the second before allowing Stetson to taste the lead. The Hatters pulled ahead on a couple of occasions and tied it up at 22, but it was Upstate who held on through the battle, taking the remaining trio of points off a Quimby ace, Queen kill and Stetson error, 25-22.
Hoping to put it away in the third, Upstate came out hot, leading 4-1. Stetson, however was not about to be left off the board in the conference opener and rallied in the third set with guidance from Worlton to tie it up 23-23. Although Upstate's Queen put away a pair of kills in the remaining moments of the third set, it was Stetson who had the last say in the third set, 26-24.
Ready to put a "W" in the conference win column, Upstate pulled out the stops in the fourth set, exploding on the court with a 18-9 opening run that was led by Harris and Queen. With the cushion in place, Upstate cruised on through the fourth set to make it final, 25-15, against the Hatters.
Moment No. 1
Upstate digs deep on "Dig Pink" night, up-ends cross-town rival Wofford
Sept. 29, 2009
An electric atmosphere at the Hodge Center served as the catalyst and the USC Upstate volleyball team finally exploded, drilling 57 kills and pounding out 10 service aces to lead to a magical upset win over cross-town rival, Wofford, 3-1, during Upstate's Dig Pink Rally for The Side-Out Foundation.
A crowd of 672 fans did not go home disappointed as Upstate played inspired from the first set on, notching 15 or more kills in three of the four sets. The Spartans fed off several solid performances with sophomore Morgan Thomas finishing with 16 kills and hitting .433. Freshman Emily Sanders added her sixth double-double of the year with 20 assists and 13 digs.
Also being fueled by the fans was the freshman duo of Paige Weiland and Mindy Quimby, who finished with nine kills and nine digs and eight kills and eight digs, respectively. Junior Erin Jacobsen finished with seven kills and four blocks.
The Spartans rallied late in the fourth set after falling behind 20-15. Weiland started the rally with a kill and then served up an ace to cut the lead to three. A block by Quimby and Thomas and a bad set by Wofford cut the lead to one and Upstate stayed within two points until a Quimby kill tied the set at 24. The Spartans couldn't convert their first two match points and a third Wofford set point was spoiled by a kill from Thomas that tied the set at 28.
Junior Megan Healey, who notched a season-high five aces, ended the set on serve after a Wofford attack error with her final ace, giving Upstate a 30-28 win.
The Spartans came out blistering hot, hitting .500 with 17 kills en route to the 25-14 win. Sophomores Morgan Thomas and Kelsie Queen each posted six kills in the set and freshman Emily Sanders contributed seven assists and eight digs alone in the set.
The Spartans took an 11-3 lead in the first set, thanks to two sneak-attach kills from Bucciferro and the Spartan lead grew to 21-11 en route to the 25-14 win.
After dropping the second set, 25-14, the Spartans came out of the intermission strong, with Weiland, Healey and Sanders posting service aces en route to a 10-5 lead. The Spartan lead dropped to three points, but Upstate scored the next three points as Quimby and Weiland posted kills before Jacobsen and junior Katie Downey notched a block. The Spartans controlled from there, never letting Wofford back within five points, taking the set, 25-17.