CONWAY, S.C. – USC Upstate volleyball picked up a win in its first game at the Myrtle Beach Comfort Suites Invitational as the "U" routed the Spartans of Norfolk State to the tune of 3-0 (25-21, 25-19, 25-23).
Upstate (3-4) was paced by Katie Downey who put away a match-high 11 kills. Additionally a trio of Spartans, Mindy Quimby, Cori Harris and Morgan Thomas, found eight kills a piece on route to the win while Emily Sanders put up 33 helpers and found six digs.
Norfolk State (3-6) was led by Arielle Knafel who registered 10 kills and four digs while Kristen Burt tallied 26 assists and four digs as well.
In the opening set, Upstate took the lead immediately, 2-0, following an error by Norfolk State and an ace by Megan Healey. Taking momentum from its initial lead, Upstate kept pushing and didn't trail once, closing out the first set on back-to-back Quimby kills, 25-21.
Upstate came out in the second set immediately up 2-0 again following another Norfolk State attack error and a kill by Kelsie Queen. This set, however, Norfolk State was not about to give up without a fight and the set seesawed in both Spartan teams' favor before Upstate picked up momentum on a 9-4 run to lead by five, 14-9. With the cushion, Upstate fed off an impressive four-kill Downey performance to surge ahead and finish with a six point lead, 25-19.
Feeling the pressure, Norfolk State opened up the third set on a 2-0 lead following a kill by Knafel and an Upstate attack. The "U", determined to close out their first game on a high note, found the points to come even, 2-2, and thus spurred a back-and-fourth affair as the score got tied up seven additional times before Upstate could make its move. On the court with 15 points apiece, it was Upstate who dug deep to finish out Norfolk State, finding 10 of the remaining 18 points to put away the third set, and take the match 25-23.
Upstate will continue competition at the Myrtle Beach Comfort Suites Invitational tomorrow when they face The Citadel and host Coastal Carolina at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., respectively.