Volleyball Preview: at Big South Volleyball Championship

Volleyball Preview:  at Big South Volleyball Championship

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate volleyball team makes its first-ever Big South Volleyball Championship appearance this weekend and begins tournament play on Friday evening as the fifth-seeded Spartans face No. 4 seed UNC Asheville at 7 p.m. from the Justice Center.

USC Upstate earned the fifth seed in this weekend's tournament after finishing the regular season with a 13-18 overall record and 8-8 mark against conference opponents.

The Spartans received four postseason awards from the Big South on Wednesday as Lily Dempsey and Gloria Ikenegbu were both named Second Team All-Conference while Emily Russell was selected Honorable Mention All-Conference. Madison Haake earned a spot on the All-Academic Team.

USC Upstate enters postseason play after falling at Radford, the second seed in this weekend's tournament, 3-1 in the regular season finale. Russell and Mackenzie Lauer led the Spartans offensively with 16 and 15 kills, respectively. Haake recorded her 18th double-double of the season, and 66th of her career, on 40 assists and 15 digs. Lauren Phillips tallied her first career double-double with a career-high 10 kills and 13 digs.

Russell leads the team both offensively and defensively this season with 285 kills and 120 blocks. Haake has dished out a team-leading 1,047 assists and Payton Duncan adds a team-best in 398 digs. Ikenegbu sits second in the conference in blocks and eighth in hitting percentage while Russell is third in blocks and sixth in points. Haake ranks third in assists. Dempsey is eighth in kills and ninth in points. Duncan sits sixth in service aces and ninth in digs.

UNC Asheville concluded the regular season with a 15-11 record and went 10-6 in conference play. The Bulldogs finished the regular season with a 3-2 victory over Radford on Nov. 10. UNC Asheville is led by eighth-year head coach Frederico Santos.

USC Upstate split the season series with the Bulldogs 1-1. The Spartans earned a 3-1 win in Spartanburg on Oct. 9 while UNC Asheville defeated USC Upstate 3-1 in Asheville on Nov. 6.

Fans can follow the action this weekend on www.upstatespartans.com via live stats. The matches are being streamed via paid subscription on ESPN+. Updates will also be posted on the USC Upstate volleyball Twitter page (@UpstateVB). 

Follow USC Upstate volleyball on Facebook (UpstateAthletics), Twitter (@UpstateVB), Instagram (@upstatespartans), YouTube (USCUpstateAthletics) and text/e-mail alerts (www.upstatespartans.com/list-signup).