Southern Miss avoided a series sweep by rebounding from its first loss against the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with a 3-1 victory in the second game.
The win against the Blazers moved the Golden Eagles to a .500 winning percentage in conference play. Southern Miss has won three of its six conference games so far this season, after only winning one of 13 last season.
Southern Miss started the weekend with a 3-1 loss, which marked the third consecutive loss for the team.
“We were really timid, and we made a lot of errors in situations where we were given free balls,” Head Coach Stephanie Radecki said about the team’s performance in the first game.
Radecki also said the team made an adjustment in the second game to accommodate UAB’s outside attack with a better defensive performance.
“We made a big adjustment [in the second game] of taking advantage of more opportunities,” Radecki said. “They’re outside heavy, they’ve had their pins a lot and we made some adjustments blocking.”
Radecki credited junior Addie Ashton’s defensive performance for helping them in the second game. This was her first start of the season, and Ashton recorded two blocks and four kills.
“I think Addie Ashton went in and did a great job on the right side,” Radecki said. “She hadn’t seen the court for a while, so it was nice to get that performance out of her. I think our team feels really confident when she’s blocking[, too,] so that was nice to see.”
Southern Miss claimed a contested first set that had nine ties and three lead changes, but dropped the second set by 11 points. However, the Golden Eagles recovered and took the last two sets with 25-20 victories to win the game.
Junior Duquesne Moratzka notched her eleventh double digit kill performance of the season with 12 kills. Fellow juniors Nyanuer Bidit and Kinsley Hanback also reached double digits, as Bidit recorded 12 kills while Hanback had 11.
In the midst of all of this, Southern Miss honored its seniors, Madison Lawler and Piper Matsumoto, after the first game.
“They’re both amazing people and amazing athletes. We care about them deeply. They made a lot of sacrifices for our program,” Radecki said.
In her four years playing, Lawler has recorded 1299 digs, which ranks eighth in school history.
“Madi is a player that I inherited[,] but has become my player,” Radecki said. “It’s been fun to watch her see the process, buy in and be so invested in our coaching staff.”
During her two years as a setter at Southern Miss, Matsumoto has recorded 1019 assists.
“She works hard all the time and she does anything you ask her to do. That’s really hard to find these days,” Radecki said about Matsumoto. “We love and care for both of them a lot.”
The Golden Eagles will next play in an away series at UTSA before returning home to close out the regular season with a series against North Texas.