Southern Miss (14-16, 3-2) split their two-game weekend battle between No. 25 Western Kentucky and Texas-El Paso. Southern Miss hosted the Lady Toppers (17-2, 5-0) Thursday, losing 3-1. Then, three days later traveled to El Paso, Texas to claim the victory over UTEP (4-14, 2-3), 3-0.
Thursday’s bout would be a back and forth game. In set one, both teams struggled with pulling away with the lead. The first set alone had 15 ties and seven lead changes.
The Golden Eagles took the biggest lead of the night at 22-19 off of a kill by Alexis Coombs. Western Kentucky would find their way back into the game after two kills and a bad set by Southern Miss, 22-22. Minimal mistakes would be the killer for the Lady Toppers as a bad set and attack error let Southern Miss win set one.
“We just had too many errors.” said Head Coach Amanda Berkley. “The second set, we were there but made some timely errors.”
Set two was another set including a plethora of lead changes and ties. There were 16 ties and nine lead changes. Opposite but very similar as set one, the Lady Toppers would see the largest lead of the set at 22-19. A Stephany Purdue kill would allow the Golden Eagles to pull within one, 23-22. WKU’s Alyssa Cavanaugh committed an attack error but quickly redeemed herself with a kill to tie the game back at 25-25.
The timely errors would occur at this point. After redeeming the lead, Southern Miss committed a service error and an attack error which led to a Taylor Dellinger kill to claim the win for Western Kentucky, 28-26.
Southern Miss would keep their play consistent in sets three and four , but a 10-3 run by the Lady Toppers was too much for the Golden Eagles as they lost set three, 25-20 and set four, 25-20.
Southern Miss would not let Thursday’s loss dwell as they traveled 1,009 miles for their matchup against UTEP Sunday.
The Golden Eagles would see a back and forth contest again in set one against the Miners.
Tied at 9-9, Southern Miss would produce a 12-5 run to take a comfortable lead at 21-14. The run would be too much for the Miners to overcome as they dropped the set, 25- 17.
Set two and three would prove no different as the first as Southern Miss won 25-17 and 25-22.
Southern Miss did not allow one opposing player to touch double digits in the stat book. Chanel Joyce and Catherine Repsher would have double-digit kills in the contest. Joyce would have 14 and Repsher would have 11.
Southern Miss looks to continue their journey to .500 ball as they play host to La. Tech Friday at home. First set will be played at 6 p.m.