The USC Upstate volleyball team opens the book on its 2015 campaign this weekend as it travels east to Charlotte, N.C. for the four-team Charlotte Invitational.
The Spartans begin the weekend tournament Friday evening at 5 p.m. when they face UNC Asheville. Upstate closes the weekend out on Saturday with a 12 p.m. matchup versus Charlotte and Davidson at 5 p.m. All three matches will be played inside Charlotte’s Halton Arena.
The Spartans open the season with four road tournaments beginning this weekend along with three midweek matches prior to the start of conference play. Upstate hosts Winthrop in its home opener next Tuesday before traveling to Boiling Springs, N.C. next weekend for the AmericInn Runnin’ Bulldog Classic hosted by Gardner-Webb. Following a midweek road trip to South Carolina State on Sept. 8, the Spartans hit the road for back-to-back tournaments at the Clemson Classic (Sept. 11-12) and Billiken Invitational (Sept. 18-19). Upstate then hosts Wofford on Sept. 22 before starting A-Sun competition on Sept. 26 at Kennesaw State.
The Spartans return a veteran roster this season with nine letterwinners back including five starters in seniors Kayla Eversgerd, Lexi Gober and Shannon Weiss, and juniors Emily Koelling and Alexa Lagaly. Eversgerd is a Preseason All-A-Sun selection after finishing last year as one of only two players in the conference to record over 300 kills and 300 digs. Gober was tied for second in the A-Sun last season in service aces while ranking sixth in assists. Weiss concluded the year just one service ace behind Gober and placed tied for fourth in the league, while Koelling was third in solo blocks. Lagaly finished fifth on the team in kills.
Also returning for the Spartans are senior Javon Gates, and sophomores Kaleigh Kelley, Dominique Arnold and Rebecca Shearer.
Upstate also welcomes in five newcomers consisting of four freshmen and one transfer sophomore. The four freshmen are Morgan Deaville (Simpsonville, S.C./Woodmont HS), Callie Yeargin (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest HS), Madison Haake (Bartelso, Ill./Mater Dei Catholic HS) and Taylor Waters (Simpsonville, S.C./Hillcrest HS), while Brianna Tellschow (Sleepy Hollow, Ill./Rock Valley College) is the transfer sophomore.
The Spartans are tied in the all-time series with UNC Asheville (7-7) and Charlotte (2-2) while holding a 1-0 advantage over Davidson. Upstate opened last season with a 3-1 win over UNC Asheville at Clemson’s Big Orange Bash, and is facing Charlotte and Davidson for the first time in over 25 years. The Spartans last played Charlotte in 1986 and suffered a 3-1 defeat, but picked up a 2-0 win over Davidson during the 1989 season.
Fans can follow the action on www.upstatespartans.com via live stats. Saturday’s match against Charlotte will be streamed on Charlotte49ers.TV. Updates will also be posted on the Upstate volleyball Twitter page (@UpstateVB).
The Spartans host Winthrop in their home opener Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.