Newark, N.J. – Emily Koelling recorded a team-high 11 kills and Madison Haake posted her ninth double-double of the season as the USC Upstate volleyball team swept the NJIT Highlanders 3-0 (25-16, 26-24, 25-18) for its first A-Sun victory of the season Sunday afternoon at Essex County College.
Upstate improves to 13-10 overall and 1-6 in the conference, while NJIT falls to 6-17 on the season and 1-6 in league play.
Koelling had a .400 hitting percentage for the match as the Spartans hit .228 as a team while limiting the Highlanders to a .041 mark. Haake finished with a team-high 28 assists and added 11 digs, and was one of three players to compile double-digit digs. Kayla Eversgerd had a team-best 16 digs and Kaleigh Kelley contributed 10.
Danica Vukotic led all players with 17 kills for NJIT while Adriana Nieto added a match-high 23 digs. Emily Krachenfels dished out 28 assists.
Upstate opened the first set by capturing nine of the first 10 points to lead 9-1 on Kelley’s service ace to end a stretch of seven straight points. The Highlanders trimmed the lead to seven, 12-5, on a combination block by Nina Vukotic and Tess Albyn, but the Spartans answered by increasing its lead to 18-8 after back-to-back assisted blocks. Upstate led by at least six the rest of the way and won the set 25-16 on an attack error by Danica Vukotic.
The Spartans took an early 10-4 lead in the second set with a ball-handling error by Krachenfels giving them the six-point advantage. NJIT used a 14-5 run midway through the frame to take an 18-15 lead following a kill by Alyssa Armada. The Highlanders maintained the lead until they sat at set point, 24-22, on Danica Vukotic’s kill. Upstate rallied to score the last four points for the 26-24 set two victory with Koelling picking up two kills during that stretch.
The Spartans began the third set off in similar fashion as the second by leading 10-4 to start after scoring five straight points with the last two coming on kills by Eversgerd. NJIT managed to get to within four at 12-8, but Upstate broke the set open courtesy of a 10-5 run to lead 22-13 on a kill by Alexa Lagaly. The Spartans won the set 25-18 on Nieto’s service error to give them the 3-0 match victory.
As a team, Upstate compiled 38 kills, committing just 12 errors in 114 attempts, and combined for seven blocks. The Highlanders ended the match with 34 kills and three blocks.
The Spartans return to the Hodge Center on Saturday, Oct. 24 as they host Kennesaw State in their Dig Pink Match at 3 p.m.