BATON ROUGE, La. -- Stephany Purdue's career-high 27 kills and 16 digs helped pave the way for Southern Miss to pick up a nail-biting 3-1 win at LSU (25-20, 22-25, 25-19, 28-26) on Saturday afternoon in the Tiger Classic. The Golden Eagles' sweep of the field began Friday with 3-0 wins over Virginia and UConn.
Purdue was named the Tournament MVP, while Sarah Bell and Chanel Joyce also earned All-Tournament honors. The 27 Purdue kills were also the most by any C-USA performer on the year. Bell, Purdue and Catherine Repsher made the Southern Miss Invitational team the week before.
"I'm really proud of this team and the fight that they have," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "They are all in and want to do whatever it takes to win. Sarah did a great job distributing the ball this weekend. I also thought that Natalie did a great job defensively. It was another total team effort. I'm so proud of this team."
It was the first meeting between the two programs since 2000, and it was the first time the Golden Eagles had topped the Tigers in six previous all-time meetings.
Three consecutive kills by Purdue put Southern Miss up 24-21, match point for the weekend. Two kills and an attack error assured LSU of new life. Sarah Bell rose to the occasion with a kill that made it 25-24, and alternating kills by Joyce still made it a 27-26 contest in favor of Southern Miss. Natalie Druhan served the next one up, and an LSU attack error ended the day.
The two teams were tied at eight before Makareta Rademakers picked up consecutive service aces and that ultimately allowed Southern Miss to take a 14-12 advantage in the final set.
Southern Miss in the first set led 3-0 and 12-5 before LSU rattled off five straight, forcing a Golden Eagle timeout. Southern Miss did not trail in that opener.
LSU took a 22-17 lead in the second set and staved off a late Golden Eagle rally to win 25-22. Southern Miss was forced to call timeouts trailing 16-13 and 20-17, and it snapped a 10-set win streak.
Southern Miss will look to continue its winning ways Tuesday at 6 p.m., when the team makes the short trip down to Mobile to play South Alabama.
-Southern Miss has swept six tournaments in four years under Amanda Berkley.
-Purdue was four kills off from the school record (Tosha Barnicoat, Oct. 23, 1998 vs. Cincinnati). She entered the day third in the league with 4.0 kills per set.
-Purdue's and Druhan's 16 digs were the most by Golden Eagles on the year. Druhan also had 16 in the opener versus McNeese.
-Southern Miss' 173 attacks were a season-high.
-Grandy has recorded an ace in 10 consecutive matches and entered Saturday as the league leader.
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