USM volleyball off to record-setting pace
A weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, saw the Southern Miss volleyball team remain undefeated after the annual Bama Bash and improved to a school record 9-0.
USM started off the tournament with two dominating wins over the College of Charleston and Northwestern State on Friday.
Stephany Purdue dominated both series with a team high 18 and 13 kills. However, Kelsey Chambers and Kylie Gandy were at her heels with eight and 11 kills respectively.
Against Alabama on Saturday, the Golden Eagles started slowly and lost their first set to Alabama. However, Purdue led the Golden Eagles back to take the next two sets.
In the fourth set, several attack errors cost USM a chance to clinch and send Alabama home.
Alabama ran out to a 4-1 lead until USM rallied to tie the set at four. Alabama amped up the pressure and then rushed back out to a 9-5 lead, but USM would once again tie it at 13-all.
However, Alabama bounced back and took advantage, tying the match at two apiece.
Southern Miss came out in the fifth set and used a combination of Gandy, Rachel Johnson, Purdue and Chambers to knock Alabama down 15-11 and took the match 3-2. Purdue, Chambers, Johnson and Gandy all had double digit kills in the match.
Later that day, Southern Miss faced off against UAB and dominated after falling behind a set early on. Southern Miss dropped the first set 25-12, but clawed back and took the next three sets to take home the tournament win.
It was Southern Miss’ second tournament win on the season. Purdue was named MVP of the tournament.
The Golden Eagles did not rest long as they had a match against Jackson State on Tuesday. Both teams went back-and-forth in the opening set; however, timely digs by Gandy helped USM stay alive in the set and eventually overcame the Tigers.
They dominated Jackson State the rest of the way as they took the match 3-0 behind Purdue’s 10 kills and great team blocking. The Golden Eagles, who have always been deadly on offense, have gotten much better defensively, which has led to their dominant stretch.
Southern Miss will return to action to see if they can stay undefeated when they travel to Oxford to participate in the Rebel Classic. Southern Miss will take on Belmont on Friday at 1 p.m. and then take on the Rebels at 5:30 p.m.