Southern Miss (7-8, 1-1 C-USA) got its first conference win of the season against UTEP (3-11, 0-2 C-USA) and at the same time snapped a six-game losing streak, which is the longest losing streak for the program since 2013.
“Our staff is excited for our first of many C-USA wins, hopefully,” Southern Miss Head Coach Stephanie Radecki said. “I’m proud of our team for their fight today.”
The Golden Eagles opened the first set with a 5-1 lead with a kill from senior Sarah Bell and an ace from freshman Kellie Garraway to build the early lead. Southern Miss extended its lead to 12-6 as the team went on a 5-0 run to build on their lead. The Golden Eagles won the 25-21 after finishing the set on a 8-3 run.
UTEP opened the second set with an early 3-2 lead. However, Southern Miss easily responded with a kill by senior Alexis Coombs, giving the Golden Eagles the momentum needed to take a six point lead at 14-8. The Miners managed to cut the deficit to 23-21, but kills by sophomore Chandler Marshall and junior Catherine Repsher led to a 25-23 win.
Momentum carried over into the third set for UTEP as the team took a 4-1 lead. UTEP extended its lead to as much eight points in the set. The Miners never relinquished the lead and won the set 25-21.
Southern Miss and UTEP tied three times in the beginning of the fourth set. Marshall hit a pivotal kill to give the Golden Eagles the lead for the rest of set at 5-4.
Southern Miss built its lead on a 4-1 run at 21-15, but UTEP answered back and cut the deficit to 22-20. A kill by senior Kylie Grandy killed the late Miner rally, and the Golden Eagles closed the set with a 3-1 run and won the set and match with a 25-21 win.
The key for Southern Miss’ win was by out hitting UTEP .225 to .146 in terms of hitting rate. Grandy led the team with 21 kills, recorded four assists and had two blocks.
“It’s been a long road stretch and we are looking forward to being at home Thursday,” Radecki said. “I hope everyone comes out to support us against WKU.”
Southern Miss will return for its first home game since in over a month when they play Western Kentucky on Sept. 27 at Reed Green Coliseum.