LAFAYETTE, La. - The Southern Miss volleyball team downed Northwestern State in four sets, 3-1 (25-23, 25-23, 19-25, 25-20) in the opening match of Sawyer Camillo Classic on Friday afternoon.
Junior Qunici Hayward and sophomore Stephany Purdue led the way with 13 kills apiece while Purdue added 19 digs in recording her first double-double of the season. Elise Ames and Lydia Bonner collected nine kills each while Ames tallied seven blocks. Mary Pursell led the team with 23 digs followed by Alex Pfefferle with 19. Setter Kelsea Seymour paced the Golden Eagle offense with 25 assists and finished with 13 digs as Makareta Rademakers added 16 assists and 11 digs.
Southern Miss attacked at a .141 clip, while holding the Lady Demons to just .106. The Eagles finished the match with 53 kills, 49 assists, 98 digs and 11.0 total team blocks. Northwestern State totaled 49 kills, 46 assists, 76 digs and 11.0 team blocks.
The two teams battled early in the opening set, producing a pair of ties before Southern Miss got a Hayward kill and an NSU attack error for the 9-7 lead. The Lady Demons tied the set at 9-9 before the team started to trade points. The Eagles got a little momentum, taking an 18-14 lead. Northwestern State cut the lead to 18-17 on three straight points. Each time the Eagles built a small lead the Demons fought back to tie the set. With the set tied at 22-22, Bonner put down a kill before she and Fleming combined for a block to give the edge to Southern Miss 24-23. After a timeout by the Demons, Hayward ended the set with a kill, giving the Eagles a 25-23 win.
The second set featured nine ties and four lead changes as the team battled back and forth. The Black and Gold managed to slip out to a 10-6 lead before NSU used a 6-1 run to take a 12-11 lead. The set reminded close the remainder as the teams traded points. Southern Miss held a 24-21 advantage before the Lady Demons fought off two set points. Bonner ended the set with a kill for the 25-23 win.
The teams battled for the first 16 points before NSU got a pair of kills while taking advantage of a pair of Eagle errors for the 12-8 lead. With the momentum swing, the Lady Demons continued to build on their lead in capturing a 25-19 win.
Southern Miss found themselves up 5-1 courtesy of pair of kills, an ace and two NSU errors. Southern Miss pushed the lead to 14-9 with Fleming spreading the offense around. The Golden Eagles led by as many as six points before Northwestern State cut the lead to 20-19. Southern Miss ended the set on a 4-1 run for the 25-20 win.
Southern Miss continues play with the Golden Eagles face host Louisiana at 7 p.m.
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