The USC Upstate volleyball team travels to the Midwest this weekend for its final tournament of the season as part of the five-team Billiken Invitational hosted by Saint Louis.
Upstate will compete in four matches over the weekend beginning Friday morning at 11 a.m. against UT Martin (3-10) followed by a 6 p.m. matchup with Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-10). The Spartans conclude their play in the tournament on Saturday versus North Dakota (8-4) at 3 p.m. and Saint Louis (6-5) at 8 p.m. All four matches this weekend will take place at SLU’s Chaifetz Pavilion.
Entering this weekend, Upstate has a 9-2 overall record after winning one match at the Clemson Classic. The Spartans opened play last Friday with a 3-1 victory over Presbyterian College before dropping 3-0 decisions against East Tennessee State and Clemson. Emily Koelling was named to the Clemson Classic All-Tournament Team.
Upstate continues to rank in the top 10 nationally in several categories after the updated rankings were released by the NCAA on Monday. The Spartans currently lead the nation in attacks per set while sitting in the top 10 in aces per set, digs per set, digs, service aces and total attacks. Madison Haake is ranked 20th or better in aces per set, service aces and triple-doubles.
Haake is one of five Upstate players that sit in the top 10 statistically for the A-Sun. The freshman leads the league in service aces, is third in kills, fourth in digs and ninth in assists. Koelling and Lexi Gober both rank in the top 10 in three different categories; Koelling in kills, services aces and blocks, and Gober in assists, service aces and digs. Shannon Weiss is second in the conference in service aces and sixth in digs, while Callie Yeargin ranks tenth in digs.
The Spartans will be facing Arkansas-Pine Bluff, North Dakota and Saint Louis for the first time in program history. Upstate owns a 2-0 lead in the all-time series against UT Martin but have not met since the 1986 season.
Fans can follow the action on www.upstatespartans.com via live stats. Updates will also be posted on the Upstate volleyball Twitter page (@UpstateVB).
The Spartans return to the Hodge Center Tuesday evening for a 6:30 p.m. match against Wofford in their final non-conference match of the season. The first 100 USC Upstate students in attendance will receive a free slice of pizza.