Volleyball Eagles Sweep Nicholls For Championship Title in Southern Miss Invitational
Purdue earns MVP while Bell and Johnson receive all-tournament honors
HATTIESBURG, MISS. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team got standout performances from junior Stephany Purdue and sophomore Natalie Druhan in leading the Golden Eagles to a 3-0 (25-9, 25-17, 25-23) win over Nicholls in the championship match of the Southern Miss Invitational.
The Golden Eagles upped their record to 3-0 while Nicholls dropped to 2-1. Purdue led the way with a match high 18 kills while Durhan collected a match-high 17 digs. Sarah Bell recorded 31 assists to go with four kills. Freshman Kylie Grandy recorded four aces and added eight kills.
Southern Miss out-killed, out-hit, out-dig and out blocked Nicholls. The Black and Gold finished with 44 kills on .303 hitting, 45 digs and 9.0 blocks. The Colonels had 29 kills on .069 hitting, 38 digs and 4.0 blocks.
Southern Miss raced out to a 5-0 run before Nicholls scored its first point. Southern Miss took an 8-2 lead before Nicholls called their first timeout of the match. Southern Miss outscored Nicholls 11-5, leading Nicholls to call another timeout with Southern Miss leading 19-7. Southern Miss went on a 6-2 run to close out the first set 25-9.
Starting set two, Nicholls scored seven of the first eight points in taking a 7-1 lead. The home team chipped away at Nicholls lead and eventually tied the set 12-12. The Golden Eagles scored six of the next nine points to take the lead 18-15, forcing Nicholls to call a timeout. To finish off the set, Southern Miss used a 7-2 run to finish the set 25-17.
Southern Miss popped out to a 5-1 lead before Nicholls put together a 6-1 run for a 7-6 lead. The teams battled for the next 12 points with the Black and Gold holding a 13-12 advantage. Southern Miss began pulling away behind the efforts of Purdue and solid front row defense at the net. However, Nicholls did not go quietly as the Colonels fought back to within 23-22 late, but the Golden Eagles ended the set scoring two of the final three points for the 25-23 win.
Kayla Mashburn led Nicholls with 10 kills while Ainsley Marroccoli had a team high 15 assists. Stephany Tobison recorded a team high of 15 digs.
Purdue was tabbed the tournament's MVP while Bell and Rachel Johnson were named to the all-tournament team. Nicholls placed Mashburn and Anna Niederhauser on the all-tournament team while Tori Penrod of Mercer and Diamond Williams of Southern earn all-tournament accolades as well.
Southern Miss is back in action on Tuesday, Sept. 1, against Southeastern Louisiana. First serve is set for 6 p.m.