Volleyball goes 1-1 on Florida road trip


Sophmore Stephany Purdue defends against Rice. The Lady Eagles were defeated by Rice at their game on Friday, September 26, 2014. -Jesisca King
Sophmore Stephany Purdue defends against Rice. The Golden Eagles were defeated by Rice Friday, Sept. 26, 2014. Jessica King/Printz

The Southern Miss volleyball team dropped its first match of a weekend trip to FAU, but were redeemed Sunday and took its final match of the Florida road trip 3-2 from FIU.

The match on Friday saw the Golden Eagles lose in a three-set match to the Owls. The loss would end their three-game win streak.

Southern Miss would put the first point up in the match, but the Owls stormed back on an 8-2 run. The Golden Eagles offense struggled throughout the match and barely put up 20 points in the match. They lost the first set 25-20.

The same struggles continued in the second and third sets. The Golden Eagles did not capitalize on offense and the Owls made them pay and finished off the second set 25-17 and the third 25-13.

Quinci Hayward finished with 10 kills, while Mary Pursell chipped in 14 digs and Kristen Fleming added 25 assists. Southern Miss finished with 31 kills on a .057 hitting clip, 45 digs and six blocks. FAU had 38 kills on .270 hitting, eight aces, 40 digs and six blocks.

However, the Golden Eagles redeemed themselves Sunday against FIU. The FIU Panthers would not make it easy as it took five sets to put them away.

The first set in this match would play out a lot like the first set against FAU for the Golden Eagles. They started off slow and only managed 17 points in a loss 25-17. The next set USM came out blazing and raced to an 18-10 lead before polishing them off 25-14.

The Golden Eagles controlled the next set, 25-23, but lost the following set 25-22 behind a poor defensive performance. Jasmine Crowell took over in the final set and collected four of her career-high 25 kills in a match clinching 17-15 win.

It was a team victory for USM, as they had four others collect double digit kills along with Crowell and several other contributions.

Lydia Bonner recorded 19 kills, while Elise Ames had 11 and Stephany Purdue added a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. Kristen Fleming also had a double-double with 65 assists and 12 digs.

Mary Pursell also had a match to remember, collecting a team-best 19 digs while Alex Pfefferle had 14 and Shelby Russell picked up 12. Southern Miss finished the match with 77 kills on a .145 hitting clip, four aces, 79 digs and eight blocks.

Southern Miss (16-9, 5-3) now gets a miniature home stand, hosting UAB on Friday and then finish up with Louisiana Tech Sunday. Both teams are in the bottom four in the conference and should catapult the Golden Eagles back into the top of the standings.

The match against UAB is set to begin at 7 p.m.