Spartans Cap Colonels For Win
BOONE, N.C. – Following a pair of tough losses earlier in the tournament, USC Upstate was ready to put a tally into the "W" column Saturday evening when they took the court with the Colonels of Eastern Kentucky. With both teams going into the match with a 1-4 record, it was Upstate who prevailed, 3-1 (23-25, 25-14, 25-18, 25-21) on the campus of Appalachian State.
USC Upstate (2-4) was paced by Mindy Quimby, Cori Harris and Kelsie Queen who put away 17, 15 and 13 kills, respectively. Emily Sanders earned her sixth double-double in as many contests with 47 helpers and 11 digs, Megan Healey added another 22 digs and Morgan Page supplied nine more.
Eastern Kentucky (1-5) was led by Ashley Edmond who found 20 kills and a trio of assists. Robyn Hench put up 31 assists for the Colonels and Kate Hendle added another nine.
Coming off two tough losses during their time at the Appalachian Invitational - Valpairaiso on Friday and host Appalachian State earlier on Saturday - the Spartans could not capitalize on the opening set in the contest with Eastern Kentucky as the Colonels took a quick 12-3 lead. An 18-10 push from the Spartan offense led by Quimby, Harris and Katie Downey brought Upstate within one, 22-21, but the Colonels held on to the cushion and finished out the set up 25-23.
Although it was Eastern Kentucky who got points on the board first in the second set, it was Upstate that came back with a vengeance, leading by eight, 20-12, after a stellar Queen performance that featured seven kills. The Spartans took the lead and kept on pushing, drawing even with the Colonels, 1-1, after a second set win, 25-14.
With the win fresh in their minds, Upstate brought down the first point of the third set on a Quimby kill with assist to Sanders. The "U" would give up the lead just once, 2-1 following a kill by the Colonels Marissa Tashenberg and a Spartan error, but picked up its game to lead, by as many as seven points, through the rest of the third before bringing in another set in favor of the Spartans, 25-18.
Looking to close out the Colonels and leave the tournament on a .500 note, the Spartans opened up the fourth set on a Quimby kill from Sanders. Following the Spartan point, a back-and-forth affair between both squads ensued with the lead changing five times over 37 points. Upstate was the one to take the final lead and ride it through to the finish. Following a 19-18 lead, kills from Harris and Downey paired with errors by EKU would eventually tip the set in favor of the "U", 25-21.
Upstate will resume competition next weekend, September 10-11 at the Myrtle Beach Comfort Inn Suites Invitational in Conway, S.C. At the Invitational, the Spartans will face Norfolk State (3-4), also the Spartans, on Friday at 4:00 p.m. before taking on The Citadel (0-7) and host Coastal Carolina (1-5) on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., respectively.