Southern Miss Volleyball gets first 4-0 start since 2015


Liana Guillemaud bumps the ball over the net against MVSU.

Southern Miss Volleyball takes the floor to begin its season in the annual Southern Miss Volleyball Classic. The Golden Eagles will play a series of four games over the course of Friday and Saturday.

Game One:

Southern Miss Volleyball Blasts MSVU 3-0 For First Win Of Season

The Golden Eagles kicked off its regular season in the Wellness Center Complex, as it faced off against Mississippi Valley State University.

To start the season, the Eagles were unsuccessful in scoring the first point of the match as MSVU jumped out to a 2-0 lead that would quickly evaporate. Kinsley Hanback scored the Golden Eagles’ first two points after two electric kills.

In the next play, freshman transfer Mia Wesley struck the board, receiving an ace. The Golden Eagles then pushed the score to 9-6 and began a streak that would lead to eight straight points.

After taking a 17-6 lead, the Lady Devils would call a timeout a few scores later at 20-7. This timeout would be to no avail as Mia Wesley closed the set out for the Golden Eagles Eagles at 25-10 on back-to-back aces.

After losing the first set, MSVU got out to a 4-3 lead and made the start of the second set competitive. Then, Lauren Talbert served an ace after two kills by Liana Guillemaud that shifted the momentum back to Southern Miss.

Photos by: Charlie Luttrell

Afterward, the Golden Eagles created separation between themselves and the Devils, going up 20-11. To close out, Southern Miss took set point on a powerful kill by Chloe Klusman and would win the set 25-15 on a service error by Seerdyn James of MSVU.

The Golden Eagles kept the energy of the last set to jump out to a 5-0 lead in the 3rd set. But, before it got out of hand, the Devils rallied off four straight points.

Southern Miss took control on an emphatic kill by Lillian Guillemaud, who lead the way in today’s match with 12 kills on 24 attacks and a .333 hitting percentage.

Afterward, libero Lauren Talbert would add three consecutive aces to her stat sheet to lead the Golden Eagles to match point, at 24-15.

To end the match, Southern Miss closed out on a kill by Chloe Klusman to win the set 25-15, and the match 3-0.

Key standouts from the box score: Liana Guillemaud, Gillian Hildalfo (6 kills, 6 digs, and 1 assist), Chloe Klusman (5 kills on 10 attacks), and Maddie Stayer with 23 assists and 4 digs.

Game Two:

Southern Miss rallies from slow start against Southern Illinois University

Southern Miss started its second match of the day against Southern Illinois University watching the ball drop, losing set one 25-22.

After losing the first set, the Golden Eagles tallied three straight sets of 25-17, 25-15, and 25-17 to defeat SIU 3-1, moving to 2-0 on the season. Cara Atkinson (10 kills and 5 blocks) Mia Wesley (13 kills and 7 digs) and Duquesne Moratzka (11 kills and 6 blocks) led Southern Miss to victory.

In the second set, the Golden Eagles jumped out to an early 2-0 lead until SIU fought back, tying the match at 4-4, 7-7, and 10-10.

After the kill by Salukis’ Nsia Gittens tied the game at 10, Southern Miss rallied off seven straight points.

Southern Miss newcomers Wesley and Atkinson helped fuel the breakaway, each scoring two kills apiece, as Aliah Giroux came out of the timeout to hit an ace to make the score 17-10.

Kellie Garraway later added an ace to the list, which made it 22-17. Duquesne Moratzka claimed the set 25-17 on set point three.

Southern Miss carried its momentum into the third set, starting 3-0 after an ace by Aliah Giroux.

Southern Illinois closed the gap, tying at 11-11, but as the last set, the Golden Eagles ran away at this same mark.

Southern Miss tallied five straight points, capping it off with a kill from Wesley to make it 16-11. The lead propelled the Golden Eagles to win the set comfortably, eventually taking it 25-15 on a block by Hanback.

In the fourth set, the Golden Eagles maintained a three-point margin through most of the first half and shot out of a cannon after a momentous kill by Atkinson. Southern Miss then widened its lead and captured the victory on match point two, off a kill from Wesley.

The Golden Eagles will complete in another doubleheader starting with USC Upstate at noon and Louisiana Lafayette at 5 pm.

Game Three:

Southern Miss continues winning streak with victory against USC Upstate

The Golden Eagles kept its two-game win streak alive with a victory against the University of South Carolina Upstate. The Eagles would win the sets 3 to 0 (25-13, 26-24, and 25-19).

Wesley led the Eagles in kills 14 and had a hitting percentage of .375, adding three huge blocks to her stat sheet. Atkinson (10 kills and 3 blocks) and Smith (1 ace, 3 kills, a .429 hitting percentage, 38 assists, and 7 digs) also joined the party.

Smith had the highlight of the day, making a diving dig that went over the net and dropped in left court in the bottom of the third set for the Eagles to surge 23-17. 

The first set was a thrashing by the Golden Eagles as they comfortably won the set on a kill by Hanback to win 25-13.

The Golden Eagles got out to a five-point lead early at 12-7 and expanded after a timeout, recording six straight points. Hanback decided the set with a kill.

USC Upstate responded well in the second set, taking a 3-1 lead. The set would eventually become tied at 19-19 and then the Golden Eagles struck three straight points to push the score to 22-19. Again, USC Upstate responded on a kill by Kelly Wiedmann (led USC Upstate with 11 kills and 3 blocks) to tie the set at 22 all.

The set continued back and forth to 24, as an extra deuce was needed. In the end, the Golden Eagles prevailed on two consecutive kills by Wesley. 

In the 3rd set, Southern Miss continued its momentum and jumped out to a 16-11 score. Upstate attempted a run at the lead, cutting it to four (21-17) after a block by Alexis Moreka. The Golden Eagles increased its lead to six points after a kill by Smith to 23-17.

Southern Miss took the match on a service error by Alexis Mareko of Upstate. 

Game Four:

Southern Miss wins in the 5th set against Louisiana at Lafayette for first 4-0 start since 2015.

The Golden Eagles and the Ragin’ Cajuns both entered the season 3-0 at the final match but it was Southern Miss that kept the streak alive, defeating Louisiana Lafayette in five sets to move to 4-0, for the first time since 2015. 

The Golden Eagles won the match 3-2, winning the first (25-20) third (26-24) and fifth set (15-9).

As the first set got underway, the Golden Eagles jumped out to an early 13-5 lead. This seven-point margin quickly dwindled after the Ragin’ Cajuns stormed to within one after an error from Atkinson.

The Golden Eagles responded by going on a five-point rally to lead 23-17. A couple of scores later,  Wesley took the set on an ace to win 25-20. 

In the second set, Southern Miss jumped out to an early lead of 4-1, but that was all the success the Golden Eagles had in the set. Louisiana at Lafayette went on a five-point rally from 4-5 to lead the set at 9-5. This lead was all the cushion the Cajuns needed as they went to win the set 25-20 on a Southern Miss service error.

The Golden Eagles got back on track after a hard smack by Wesley (21 kills, 15 digs, and 4 blocks). The Golden Eagles went on a four-point rally to lead 5-0. 

The Ragin’ Cajuns stormed back on a block by Cami Hicks. Afterwards, the Cajuns pulled away and the Golden Eagles came back to tie the set at 18 all.

The set came down to the wire, tied at 24, but Southern Miss closed out the set on a block by Wesley and kill by Atkinson.

ULL took the fourth set 25-21, led by Kelsey Bennett who went on to have 24 kills for the match.

Chinelo Ogogor and Kara Barnes would help the Cajuns get on the board in the fifth set first after a block on Wesley. The Golden Eagles rallied 5-2 after a huge block by Atkinson on Kara Barnes. The Golden Eagles held on to a two point lead at 11-9 and closed the game out on a four point scoring rally to win the match 15-9.