Soccer and volleyball begin conference play

Both the USM women’s soccer and volleyball teams will begin conference play Friday, Sept. 27. The soccer team will play the Mean Green of North Texas in Denton, Texas, at 7 p.m. while the volleyball team will play UAB in Birmingham at 7 p.m. as well.

USM’s soccer team is still strong with a 6-2-2 record against non-conference opponents, and the offense averages 3.7 goals per match, ranking first in scoring offense in the NCAA. The offense is led by Danica Roberts, who is sixth in the NCAA for points per game (2.50).

That offense will have to be ready for North Texas (6-3-0), a team that has had a shutout winning streak of four matches, outscoring opponents 12-0. That win streak includes victories over TCU and Oklahoma.

Though they have three losses and are coming off a loss as well, they have only been defeated by 2nd ranked Wake Forest and 10th ranked Virginia Tech. Their third blemish of their record was a 2-1 overtime loss to Oklahoma State.

After facing North Texas, the Lady Eagles soccer team will close the weekend with a match at UTEP (7-2-1), another tough opponent that has a current winning streak of four.

The weekend will not be easy for the USM volleyball team either. The Golden Eagles (9-6) just wrapped up a tournament in Oxford, Miss., with three losses to Chattanooga, Ole Miss, and Louisiana-Lafayette. USM only won four of 13 total sets in that tournament and will be facing UAB (11-5), a team that is 4-1 at home and averages 13 kills per set.

USM is 1-2 in away games so far this year, but the Golden Eagles will be able to hold their own. The Eagles average over 14 digs per set and over 13 kills per set.

Southern Miss has a powerful offensive weapon in Quinci Hayward, who is responsible for over thirty percent of USM’s total kills. Hayward has recorded 216 kills with over 4 kills per set. Elise Ames leads the team in attack percentage with .377; Ames, Hayward, and other talented players could certainly pull off a win in Birmingham.

The volleyball team will then have a four-game home stretch beginning Oct. 4 against North Texas. Southern Miss is 4-1 at home and has won 12 of 15 sets in Reed-Green Coliseum.