Downey Posts Match-High 12 Kills Against Belmont
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Junior Katie Downey (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) posted a match-high 12 kills and the USC Upstate volleyball team won its first set ever against Belmont on Friday night at the Hodge Center, but the Spartans weren't able to complete the comeback from a two-set deficit, as they fell to the Bruins, 3-1 (25-20, 25-15, 25-27, 25-17), in Atlantic Sun Conference action.
Downey led the Spartans (7-20 overall, 3-14 A-Sun) with 12 kills, hitting a season-high .421, to go with two blocks. Junior Erin Jacobsen (Virginia, Minn./Iowa Lakes C.C.) added 10 kills, two assists and three blocks and sophomore Kelsie Queen (Blythewood, S.C./Ridge View) added seven kills and eight digs. Junior Megan Healey (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline Academy) also added eight digs and sophomore Morgan Thomas (Plantation, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) also added five kills and three blocks. Freshman Emily Sanders(Sullivan, Ill./Sullivan) added 18 assists.
Upstate fell behind 5-2 in the third set, but fought back with four straight points, three on the serve of Downey, to take a 6-5 lead. From there, neither team could take more than a two-point advantage until kills by Queen and Downey gave Upstate a 22-19 lead. The Bruins (15-13 overall, 11-7 A-Sun) fought back after Upstate took a 24-20 lead to tie the set at 24. However, Upstate stayed poised and a kill by Downey and a Belmont attack error closed out the 27-25 Spartan win.
In the fourth set, the Bruins went on a 13-4 run to open the set before Upstate tried to make a furious comeback, closing within five points after a kill by Downey made it 15-10. However, that was as close as they could get, as Belmont closed out the 25-17 win.
The Spartans and Bruins battled to a tie at 13 in the first set before a service ace by Kayla Albritton was followed by a kill by Jenny Gray, helping ignite the Bruins on a 6-2 run en route to the 25-20 win. Belmont jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the second set thanks to two aces by Megan Clements and it never let Upstate back within three points en route to the 25-15 win.
The Bruins had a trio of 10-kill efforts, led by Maggie Johnson, who had 12 kills and four digs. Katie Marshall added 10 kills and Gray posted 11 kills and a match-high nine digs. Tara Blood posted eight kills and three blocks. Channing Salava had an outstanding all-around match, posting 42 assists, three kills, six aces and seven digs.
The Spartans will look to end league-leading Lipscomb's perfect A-Sun season on Senior Day, Saturday at 3 p.m. Before the match, seniors Morgan Bucciferro (Joliet, Ill./Minooka Community) and Karla Andree(Cypress, Calif./Cypress C.C.) will be honored with a short ceremony.