Southern Miss gets back on track

Stephany Purdue’s 20 kills helped Southern Miss beat the Charlotte 49ers 3-1 and snap a two-game losing streak Friday night in Reed-Green Coliseum.  Southern Miss is now 13-8 and 2-2 in Conference USA dropping Charlotte to 12-8 and 1-2 in C-USA. 

Charlotte won the first set in come back fashion, but could not find an answer to slow down the Golden Eagles the following sets.

Late in the first set, the 49ers found themselves losing 18-14. Freshman Sarah Adams recorded a kill that started a Charlotte rally. With kills coming from Savannah Gaster, Michaela White and Claire Kreuz, along with nice blocking at the net, Charlotte was able to even the score at 22 apiece and take the set 25-23.

Set two started the same way, with the roles reversed. With Southern Miss down 18-14, Purdue started a rally with three kills, giving USM the 19-18 lead. Charlotte was able to pull even at 19 apiece with a kill from Marshae Bradbury, but another Purdue kill and some 49ers mistakes helped USM push their lead to 24-20. Quinci Hayward made the final kill that ended the set, giving USM the 25-20 victory.

Southern Miss would come out and dominate set three to take a 2-1 match lead after a quick 25-13 win. Purdue continued her dominance on offense, adding a pair of aces to give the Golden Eagles a 13-5 lead. Another five-point rally extended the lead to 20-8 on an Elise Ames kill. USM called on Hayward again to finish off the set and she came through with the set’s final kill.

Charlotte came out in the fourth set determined to force a fifth set.  Things got exciting late when Charlotte came within two points, trailing 19-17. The Golden Eagles and the 49ers traded points, but USM was able to keep the two point advantage and win the set 25-21 and take the 3-1 win.

“We stressed in practice all week that everyone had a job to do,” said USM head coach Amanda Berkley. “Tonight, I believe they did their jobs to help get this win. We still have some things we need to work on, but I was pleased with the efforts tonight.”

Next weekend, USM will play at Reed-Green Coliseum, looking to improve their conference record against North Texas and Marshall.