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Golden Eagle Volleyball Drops Season Opener, 3-0

Sophomore Jasmine Crowell

Aug. 24, 2012

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss volleyball team dropped its season opener, falling to South Alabama in three sets, 25-16, 25-22, 25-22, in the final match of the day in the Southern Miss Invitational.

Sophomore Jasmine Crowell led the way with a match high 13 kills while senior Halie Ecker added seven. Elizabeth Rinaudo collected 11 digs while Alex Pfefferle and Kristen Fleming added eight digs each. Fleming handed out 27 assists.

Four freshmen made their collegiate debuts as Elise Ames and Quinci Hayward chipped in 4 and three kills, respectively, while combining for five block assists.

Olivia Mohler led South Alabama with 12 kills and Savannah Stewart tallied 10. Jenna Hassell came up with a match-high 18 digs and Katariina Kananen finished with 39 assists.

"The outcome is not what we had hoped, but it important that this group stays positive and works to improve in every single point," coach Abbey Sutherland said. "It's no secret that we are inexperienced, but we will no longer be able to use that as an excuse. Leaders will soon emerge and this team will come together." The teams started out evenly before the Jaguars used a 14-2 run in overtaking the Golden Eagles 23-14. USA's Stewart served nine consecutive points during the run in helping the Jaguars to a 25-16 win.

In set two, USA jumped out to a 4-1 lead before USM came back to tie the set a 5-5. The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the set until South Alabama took advantage of two Eagles attack errors before Stewart gave the Jaguars a 25-22 win on a kill.

USM built a 6-4 lead to start the third stanza, but South Alabama took control with tough blocking and timely kills to take 13-10 lead. Southern Miss kept the set close and got within one, 22-21, before USA claimed the set, 25-22.

In earlier action, Central Arkansas defeated South Alabama, 3-1 and Louisiana Tech, 3-0.

Action resumes on Saturday at 11 a.m. with Southern Miss taking on Central Arkansas followed by South Alabama and Louisiana Tech at 3 p.m. and Southern Miss and Louisiana Tech conclude at 7 p.m.

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