HATTIEBURG, Miss. - As the football team enjoys its best season in four years, the Southern Miss Department of Athletics reflects on a special fall season for its athletic programs.
The Golden Eagle football team, which increased their win total by six games from last year to this season, captured the Conference USA West Division crown en route to earning is 23rd overall bowl game. Todd Monken's team travels to Dallas this Christmas to face Pac-12 power Washington in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl, Saturday, Dec. 26, at 1:20 p.m. (CT) on ESPN.
But the football Golden Eagles weren't the only intriguing story for Southern Miss during the fall season.
The volleyball team -- led by Amanda Berkley - ended its season in the C-USA tournament semifinals, after posting a 24-11 record and the win total was tied for fourth-best in the program's history. It was the second consecutive year of tallying 20 or more wins for the program.
The successes of the team translated into an individual award for Mary Pursell, who garnered C-USA Libero of the Year for the second consecutive season. Pursell also collected first-team all-league honors while outside hitter Stephany Purdue earned second-team accolades. Sarah Bell and Kylie Grandy each made the league's All-Freshman team.
On the links, the Southern Miss women's golf program -- under first-year coach Erika Brennan - finished its fall campaign with a tournament title at the UAB Fall Beach Bash in Gulf Shores, Ala., finishing with a season-low round of 294 on the final day to help clinch the title. It was the team's first tournament title since 2014 and the second time that they have won this event in the last four years. In four fall tournaments, the Golden Eagles did not finish lower than fourth.
Ryan Argotsinger led the men's golf program by tallying two top 20 finishes during their fall campaign and posting a 73.45 stroke per round average.
Third-year women's soccer coach Mohammed El-Zare saw continued improvement in his team's play as they captured their most C-USA matches since the 2007 campaign.
In women's cross country, the team registered its highest-ever finish in the Conference USA championship with a fourth-place showing in late October and three individuals, Rebecca Ulrich, Daphne Stanford, Kristen Zarrella, all made the all-conference team, marking the most the Golden Eagles to ever be placed on that squad. The team captured two team titles during the year, winning the Southern Miss Invitational as well as the LSU Invitational.
The men's and women's tennis teams had successful fall campaigns as women's player Alex Kitchen reached the finals of the UTSA-ITA Southern Region B Draw championship, while Turan Surat of the men's team reached the fourth round of the UTSA/ITA Southern Regional championship at Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Now, as we enter the winter months, both men's and women's basketball currently enjoy the midst of their regular season, while indoor track gets going at the first of the new year.
If the fall is any indication of how the 2015-16 Southern Miss athletic seasons will go, it should be a fun time to follow the Golden Eagles in the Hub City.