The USC Upstate volleyball team remains on the road Tuesday evening when it travels to Orangeburg, S.C. to face the South Carolina State Bulldogs at 7 p.m. inside Dukes Gymnasium.
Upstate improved on its best start in the Division I era last weekend by winning all three of its matches to capture the AmericInn Runnin’ Bulldog Classic hosted by Gardner-Webb. The Spartans enter the midweek matchup with a perfect 7-0 record and are just three wins away from matching their 10-0 start to the 2006 season. The most wins by an Upstate team to begin a season is 27 compiled by the 1994 team.
Lexi Gober was named the Most Valuable Player of the AmericInn Runnin’ Bulldog Classic and also earned All-Tournament Team honors along with Emily Koelling and Madison Haake. The Spartans won each match by scores of 3-1 against The Citadel, Southeast Missouri State and Gardner-Webb.
Gober collected doubles-doubles in the victories over The Citadel and Southeast Missouri State, and led the team with 133 assists for an 8.31 assists per set average. Haake had two double-doubles and one triple-double in the three matches while posting a team-best 56 kills, 51 digs and 10 service aces. Koelling recorded her first double-double of the season against The Citadel with 13 kills and 10 digs, and finished with a team-high 11 blocks on the weekend.
Haake ranks in the top 10 for the A-Sun in three different categories and leads the league in service aces. She also sits third in digs and ninth in assists. Gober is sixth in the league in assists, tied for seventh in service aces and 10th in digs. Shannon Weiss ranks second in service aces and fifth in digs, while Koelling is tied for sixth in blocks and tied for seventh in service aces. Kayla Eversgerd sits sixth in kills and Callie Yeargin eighth in digs.
South Carolina State opened its season last weekend by going 0-3 at the HPU Classic hosted by High Point. The Bulldogs are under the direction of third-year head coach Valerie Jones. SCSU is led offensively by Kirby Anderson with 31 kills while Melanie Williams has dished out 78 assists. Anderson also leads the team in blocks with nine. South Carolina State has six players with double-digit digs led by Williams and Ashante Finnie with 24 each.
The Spartans hold a 13-1 lead in the all-time series over the Bulldogs including a 4-0 mark when playing in Orangeburg. Upstate defeated South Carolina State 3-1 last season at Charleston Southern’s Wingate Invitational.
The Spartans head to Clemson this weekend for the Clemson Classic where they will face Presbyterian College, East Tennessee State and Clemson.