USM wins weekend pair at home
Southern Miss (19-6, 6-2) picked up a pair of 3-2 conference wins at home over the weekend, beating Florida International on Friday and Louisiana Tech on Sunday.
FIU gave the Golden Eagles all they could handle and appeared as if it was going to be the team to pick up the win. In the first set, FIU was able to pull away late to pick up the 25- 21 win.
USM answered back in the second set with a 25-21 win of its own, closing on a 9-3 run that was capped off by Stephany Purdue.
However, FIU completely dominated the third set, winning a lopsided affair 25-11. FIU picked up 11 of their points in the set on attack errors by USM.
The Golden Eagles had their backs against the wall going into the fourth set, but answered the call. After going back-and-forth in the early going, USM used a 11-3 run down the stretch to force a fifth set. Purdue, Mary Pursell and Shelby Russell combined for eight of the 11 points in the run.
The fifth set was very similar to the fourth as the teams battled tough in the early going as USM held onto a slim 7-6 lead at the midway point. But USM used an 8-2 run to close out the set and win the match. Kylie Grandy led the way for USM with 19 kills while Kelsey Chambers and Rachel Johnson each had 14. Sarah Bell had 50 assists for the match while Pursell led the way with 31 digs. Although La. Tech came into the match with a lowly 7-13 record overall and just 1-6 in conference play, they gave USM all they could handle Sunday.
The Golden Eagles narrowly won the first set 25-23 as Chambers knocked home the final point after a back-and forth set. The second set was just as hotly contested, but it was La. Tech that came through in the clutch this time. Up 24-23 and needing just one point to win, USM failed to close out the set.
La. Tech surged to a 4-1 run, winning 27-25 and knotting up the match. The third set belonged to USM and Grandy had six straight points at the end of the set as it won 25-16. La. Tech refused to give up in the fourth set, battling their way to a 30-28 victory and forcing a fifth set.
However, the Golden Eagles once again answered back, taking the final set 15-10 to pick up their sixth conference win of the season. Purdue, Chambers, Johnson and Elise Ames each recorded double-digit kills with Purdue leading with 17. USM had five players record at least 10 digs and had 14 blocks as a team.
The Golden Eagles will look to remain hot this week as they travel to Boca Raton, Florida, Wednesday to take on FAU before returning home to host UTEP and UAB this weekend.