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Sports Golden Eagles use loss to Jaguars as turning point

Golden Eagles use loss to Jaguars as turning point

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In under two hours the Southern Miss volleyball team (1-16, 0-3 C-USA) lost three straight sets to South Alabama (12-6, 3-1 Sunbelt). 

“Tonight was really frustrating because I felt like we should have been able to execute more,” head coach Stephanie Radecki said. “We missed an opportunity tonight versus a good team so that’s really hard to take.” 

With seven lead changes in the first set the Golden Eagles trialed closely behind the Jaguars. An attack error by Liana Guillemaud gave South Alabama the lead which they kept until a kill by Guillemaud ties the set at 20-20. South Alabama jumped back in front with a kill by Rachel DeMarcus assisted by Meghan Jones. The set ended with a score of 25-22. Southern Miss had six errors for the set and Guillemaud led the squad with six of 13 kills.  

“She [Guillemaud] is taking a lot of swings for a true freshman,” Radecki said. “She has found a way to see a lot of success. She has stayed focus and when she has errors she has comeback swinging and has done a good job with that.” 

In set two Southern Miss held the lead until a kill by Kelley Hartman tied the set at 12-12 followed by a kill by Iva Durdanovic which but South Alabama ahead. The Golden Eagles were only able to put up four more points on the board for a final set score of 25-16.  

“When our passing breaks down our offense tends to struggle,” Radecki said. “Obviously with it being a frustrating season when a team runs points on us all that comes back and its frustrating. We have to be a lot more mentally tough now.” 

The third set also ended with a score of 25-16. Southern Miss stayed in front until an attack error by Hallie Phelan tied the set at 7-7. A service ace gave the Jaguars the advantage. The Golden Eagles were unable to catch up ultimately ending the match. 

“I’m ready to be back in the gym and work on a lot of things. I think everyone feels the same way,” Guillemaud said. “This might be a turning point for us because this loss hurt a lot more than the others. We were getting so good and then to drop back down again will give us some pep in our step.”  

Guillemaud put up 13 points for the night with 11 kills and a .200 hitting percentage. Madison Lawler led the Golden Eagles with 17 digs and Piper Matsumoto had 26 assists.  

“It [confidence] is low but we are also hungry for more, we still are looking forward and we are ready for the game against Rice,” Lawler said. “Even though we lost tonight I think we are going to bounce back.” 

Southern Miss will travel to Houston, TX on Oct. 4 to face 14-1 conference opponent Rice. The Owls are currently undefeated in conference play putting them in second place in C-USA.  

“Rice is having a great season,” Radecki said. “I’m so excited our conference has teams that are competing at that level and we are just going to go after them. You never know what could happen.”

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