Southern Miss volleyball stays hot

Southern Miss continued their dominance in conference play as they beat UAB 3-1 Friday at home.

UAB fell to 6-18 overall and 3-6 in conference play, while Southern Miss improved to 17-9 overall and 6-3 in the league. The Golden Eagles outhit the Blazers with a .204 hitting percentage to UAB’s .094 and finished the match with 68 kills, 64 digs and 10 blocks.

USM came out scorching, building a 13-5 lead. Back-to-back attack errors by USM cut the lead to 15-10, but that is as close as UAB would get in the first set. Four straight attack errors committed by UAB, making the score 19-10. USM finished off the set with kills from Quinci Hayward and Makareta Rademakers to give them a 25-14 set one victory.

Despite trailing early in the second set, UAB tied up the game 11-11 after a USM attack error and used a 5-0 run to take a 16-13 lead. Kristen Fleming recorded four straight assists and helped Southern Miss battled back to tie the set at 17-17, where the teams then traded points with neither team pulling away. UAB would come out of set two with a 28-26 victory on a Sara Rishell kill

The Golden Eagles looked determined to win set three and avoid being down 1-2 in the match. USM jumped to an 11-6 lead, but six straight attack errors helped UAB tie it up at 12-12. The rest of the set saw two more ties as both teams battled to keep it close throughout. The Golden Eagles used a 6-2 run, capped off with a kill from Lydia Bonner off an assist from Fleming to take the 25-21 set three victory.

Southern Miss came out strong in the fourth, leading 3-0 early. UAB was able to cut the lead to one, 8-7 on an attack error, but was unable to get any closer as the Golden Eagles held on for a 25-19 set four and match victory. Jasmine Crowell led the Golden Eagles with 17 kills.

On Sunday, the La Tech Bulldogs visited the Golden Eagles and Southern Miss dominated with a 3-0 victory. The Golden Eagles finished with 40 kills on .293 hitting, five aces, 42 digs and 12 blocks. Stephany Purdue led the Golden Eagles with 12 kills; Mary Pursell had a team high 17 digs and Fleming recorded 35 assists.

Southern Miss jumped out to a 10-2 lead, which forced La Tech to call the first timeout of the opening set. The break did not stop the bleeding, as the Golden Eagles continued to lead for the remainder of the set and eventually took a 1-0 lead in the match with a 25-14 win on a Bulldog attack error. USM totaled 15 kills in the first set alone, while Tech struggled with eight kills countered with six errors.

Set two was closer as the Bulldogs did not want to get into a 0-2 hole. With the game tied up at 8, USM scored six of the next eight points to give them a 14-10 lead. That would be as close as the Bulldogs would get. La Tech only score two more points in the set and committed six attack errors to help USM reach the 25-12 set two win.

After the 10-minute intermission, La. Tech came out and kept it close with Southern Miss early in the third set and tied the set at 6-6. The Golden Eagles used another run, as they won seven straight points and took a commanding 13-6 lead and never looked back.

A timeout by the Bulldogs helped calm down the nerves and allowed them to cut into the lead to make it 18-15, but that is the closest Southern Miss would allow. The Golden Eagles won seven of the next nine points to close out the set, 25-17, and clinch a 3-0 victory over La. Tech.

Purdue led the Golden Eagles a .241 attacking percentage, while also totaling nine digs and two blocks. Crowell finished with seven kills, seven total blocks, while hitting .400 on the day and committing just one error. The Golden Eagles improved to 18-9 overall and 7-3 in C-USA play.

Southern Miss returns to action when the Golden Eagles travel to Texas for visits at UTEP on Oct. 31 and league-leader UTSA Nov. 2.