HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Consecutive 25-9 wins followed a first-set McNeese State decision, and the Golden Eagles slammed the door in the fourth Friday night inside the Oak Grove High School Volleyball Facility (21-25, 25-9, 25-9, 25-17).
The Cowgirls (1-0) led 14-13 before embarking on a 7-2 run in the first set that allowed them to gain control.
"I think we just had to get the first match jitters out of our system for that first set," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "We really came alive in the second and third. We had to get our feet wet and play as a team. We have some new faces out there so we just had to get comfortable with each other."
Southern Miss shook off the early adversity to take an 8-2 lead in the second set that eventually opened up to 18-5, bringing the crowd to its highest pitch. Chanel Joyce even had four of the team's five points in that span on kills. Catherine Repsher helped seal the second set with two kills and a block assist.
It was more of the same for the Golden Eagles in the third set, posting a 9-2 run to start. That eventually opened up to 14-6 and forced a Cowgirl timeout. A Southern Miss service error immediately followed, but kills by Alexis Coombs and Stephany Purdue kickstarted the 11-2 run that closed it out.
The fourth set was more of a battle for the Golden Eagles. Katherine Still's service ace followed a McNeese timeout in the fourth set, expanding the lead to 18-14. Back-to-back attack Cowgirl attack errors made it 20-14, and Purdue clinched the night with a kill from Makareta Rademakers.
Southern Miss returns to action Saturday at 12:30 p.m. against Grambling and 6 p.m. versus Tulane.
-Five Golden Eagles recorded service aces.
-The team had its fewest attack errors in seven games (Oct. 19 at Rice).
-Catherine Repsher's 14 kills were second behind Stephany Purdue's game-high 16. Repsher also had just two errors in her 20 attempts.
-Purdue closed to within 346 kills of the school career record.
-Sarah Bell had 51 assists.
-Natalie Druhan had 16 digs, one away from a career-high.
-Chanel Joyce had 10 kills, also one off a career-high.
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