Eagles enjoy mixed success at Rebel Classic
The Southern Miss volleyball team traveled to Oxford, Mississippi, to compete in the Rebel Classic with an undefeated 9-0 record intact. The Golden Eagles faced Belmont to open the Rebel Classic.
In the opening match of the tournament, the Golden Eagles continued their strong start, winning its opening match of the Rebel Classic 26-24, 21-25, 25-19, 25-15 over Belmont. After splitting the first two sets of the match, Southern Miss closed the match with two dominating sets. The Golden Eagles hit a match best .300 in game three on 11 kills and coasted to a final-game victory collecting seven kills and taking advantage of nine Belmont hitting errors.
The victory continued the Golden Eagles’ best start in school history by improving to 10-0. Stephany Purdue posted 12 kills while Rachel Johnson and Elise Ames added eight and seven kills, respectively.
The Golden Eagles faced the tournament host Ole Miss in match two of the two-day tournament. Southern Miss dropped their first match of the season 3-0 (25-15, 25-21, 25-20) to Ole Miss, snapping their 10-match winning streak.
As a team, the Golden Eagles had 31 kills on .184 hitting, 27 digs and six team blocks. Ole Miss scored seven of the fi rstnine points to open the fi rst set. Southern Miss then used a 7-3 run to close the gap to 10-9. Ole Miss scored eight of the next 10 points in stretching its lead to 18-11. Following a Southern Miss timeout, Ole Miss added three more points, pushing the the score to 21-12 before closing out the set on a 4-2 run for the 25-15 win.
An evenly played second set ensued for the fi rst 10 points to start. Ole Miss pushed the lead to 18-14. The teams then swapped points, but the Golden Eagles were not able to cut into the lead before falling 25-21 in the second set.
The teams went back-and forth to start the third set. The Golden Eagles established an 18-14 lead, but Ole Miss fought back to cut the lead to 18-17. After a Southern Miss timeout, the teams traded points before Ole Miss finished the set strong on an 8-2 run for the 25-20 win. The loss dropped the Golden Eagles to 10-1.
Kelsey Chambers recorded a team-best eight kills while Purdue added seven kills of her own. Mary Pursell and Purdue had eight digs each, while Sarah Bell racked up 26 assists. On the fi nal day of the Rebel Classic, the Golden Eagles got back in the win column with a win over Buffalo. Southern Miss jumped out to a 7-1 lead to start the fi rst set, but Buffalo buckled down on the defensive end down the stretch, coming back to take the 28-26 win.
The Bulls carried momentum into the second set as they scored seven of the first 12 points. The Golden Eagles were able to fight back with an 8-2 run, capturing a 13-9 lead. The lead did not last long as Buffalo fought to a 13-13 tie. The teams went back-and forth with points before the Bulls took the final three points for a 25-22 win.
Southern Miss opened the third set strong, running out to a 5-1 lead. The Bulls fought back to tie the game, but the Golden Eagles closed out the set using an 8-3 run for the 25-19 win.
Southern Miss and Buffalo battled the fourth set with long rallies and tight scores; the set saw eight ties and four lead changes. Buffalo led 17-15 when Southern Miss ran off five consecutive points to take a 20-17 lead. The Golden Eagles ended the set outscoring Buffalo 5-2 for a 25-19 win and forcing a fifth set.
In the final set, it seemed as a fourth set encore, as Southern Miss took a 7-7 tie and scored three of four points for the 10-8 lead. The Golden Eagles managed to hold off the Bulls with a timely kill and block. Leading 12-9 after a Buffalo timeout, Southern Miss ended the set by scoring three of the final four points for the 15-10 win. Kylie Grandy and Purdue led the way with 14 and 19 kills, respectively. Johnson and Chambers added nine kills each. Bell just missed a double-double with 52 assists and nine digs. Pursell paced the defense with 19 digs.
The Golden Eagles (11-1) will look to continue its historic start when they take on New Orleans Tuesday at 6 p.m.