SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate volleyball team (2-4) hits the road this weekend (Sept. 9-10) for the Air Force Falcon Invitational, taking on Northern Arizona (6-0), host Air Force (2-5) and Utah Valley (6-2).
The Spartans open the tournament Friday (Sept. 9) with a 5 p.m. MT match against Northern Arizona. This will be the first match-up between the schools. The Lumberjacks enter the weekend with a perfect 6-0 record, the best program start since the 1991 team began its year 11-0 and played in the national Invitational Volleyball Championship, one of two postseason appearances in program history. NAU is led offensively by Kobi Christensen with 95 kills, averaging 4.13 kills per set.
Upstate opens play Saturday with a 1 p.m. MT match against tournament host Air Force. This marks the first meeting for the Spartans and Falcons. Air Force is 2-5 on the year and is coming off of a 1-2 showing at Denver University's tournament last weekend. AFA is led offensively by Ayesha Hein and Cami Richen with an identical team-high 73 kills each.
The Spartans square off with Utah Valley Saturday at 5 p.m. MT for the first time in history. The Wolverines have a 6-2 record, marking the program's best Division I start. UVU won its last four matches with wins over Syracuse, Santa Clara, Cal Poly and BYU Hawaii. The Wolverines are led offensively by Lindsay Barker and Chelsey Heaps with 89 and 86 kills, respectively.
Upstate went 1-2 last weekend at the Radford Invitational, dropping a 3-2 match to Radford and a 3-0 contest to UMKC, before shutting out Chicago State 3-0. Junior setter Emily Sanders was named to the all-tournament team after recording 101 assists, 28 digs and seven kills in three. This was her second all-tournament team honor this season. Junior Mindy Quimby and senior Morgan Thomas lead the Spartans with 51 and 49 kills, respectively. Defensively, sophomore Morgan Page has a team-best with 84 digs, while Thomas has 13 total blocks.