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Eagles dominate in Southern Miss Invitational

Hunt Mercier
The Southern Miss Volleyball team celebrates a point won by senior Rachel Johnson at the Southern Miss Invitational on August 29, 2015.


The Golden Eagles held their volleyball invitational this weekend, inviting Mercer, Southern and Nicholls State to play in friendly competition.

Southern Miss dominated the competition, winning all three of their matches.

“We’ve got to find a way to practice better,” said coach Amanda Berkley. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us but it’s going to help us get better.”

Southern Miss opened up their tournament showing against Mercer. The Golden Eagles came out flat, but flashed their potential going a full five sets.

Mercer challenged the Golden Eagles as USM held a slim 19-18 lead, but USM fizzled down the stretch. Mercer held the Golden Eagle attack down, bringing the set to an end, 25-20.

In the second set, it was more of the same for the Golden Eagles. They fell once again as Mercer went on a 7-3 run to win in the match, 25-23.

Southern Miss came out swinging in the third set with the match at stake. They jumped out to a 5-1 lead behind Mary Pursell and Stephany Purdue’s persistent offense at the point of attack. Southern Miss kept up the offensive attack and went on to win, 25-19.

A rough set in the fourth put Southern Miss back on the edge. Both teams battled consistently, tying the game up at 10 apiece. Then the Golden Eagles used a 15-7 run to crush Mercer’s momentum, winning 25-17.

Pursell put the Golden Eagles on her back in the beginning of the set, putting the Golden Eagles ahead 8-6.

Even though Mercer fought back to escape the momentum of USM, they fell short. The Golden Eagles went on to win the set 15-10.

Initially down 2-0, the Golden Eagles started their weekend on a high note with a come-from-behind victory against the Mercer Bears, 3-2.

“We’ve just got to keep fighting no matter what,” Berkley said. “Every point matters to us.”

After Southern Miss dispatched Mercer, they prepared for their doubleheader on Saturday against the Southern Jaguars and the Nicholls State Colonels on Saturday.

The Golden Eagles would go on to win all three games in the Southern Miss Invitational.

Their next match is slated for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at Reed Green Coliseum.They will face the Southeastern Louisiana Lions, who have begun the season 1-2 but are coming off a commanding 3-0 win over North Carolina Central.

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Eagles dominate in Southern Miss Invitational