OXFORD, Miss. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team rallied from 2-0 deficit to defeat Buffalo 3-2 (26-28, 22-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-10) in the Rebel Classic Saturday morning.
Stephany Purdue and Kylie Grandy led the way with 19 and 14 kills, respectively. Rachel Johnson and Kelsey Chambers added nine kills each. Sarah Bell just missed a double-double with 52 assists and nine digs. Mary Pursell paced the defense with 19 digs.
Southern Miss ran out to a 7-1 lead to start the first set. Buffalo then put together a 13-8 run in cutting the lead to 15-14. The Golden Eagles pushed the lead to 19-15, capitalizing on several Buffalo errors. Out of a UB timeout, the Bulls outscored the Golden Eagles 6-3 run, drawing within a point. From there, Buffalo buckled down on the defensive end, putting up several timely blocks in taking the 28-26 win.
The Bulls' momentum carried into the second set as the Buffalo scored seven of the first 12 points. Southern Miss was able to fight back using an 8-2 run in taking a 13-9 lead. The lead was shorted lived as Buffalo battled to a 13-13 tie. The teams traded points before the Bulls the final three points for a 25-22 win.
Southern Miss opened the third set strong, running out to a 5-1 lead. BU fought back to cut the lead to 7-6. Southern Miss answered by scoring 10 of the next 17 points. Buffalo kept the set close, scoring three straight points. Southern Miss closed out the set using an 8-3 run for the 25-19 win.
The fourth set featured eight ties and four lead changes. The teams battled for much of the set with long rallies and keeping the score close. With Buffalo leading 17-15, Southern Miss ran off five consecutive points to take a 20-17 lead. The Golden Eagles ended the set outscoring Buffalo 5-2 for a 25-19 win and forcing a fifth-set.
In the final set, the teams battled back and forth. Southern Miss took a 7-7 tie and scored three of four points for the 10-8 lead. The Golden were able to hold off the Bulls by getting a timely kill and block. Out of a Buffalo timeout and leading 12-9, Southern Miss ended the set scoring three of the final four points for the 15-10 win.
Megan Lipski led a quartet of Bulls with 19 kills followed by Cassie Shado with 14, Amber Hatchett had 11 and Valisha had 10. Tessa Ooyama finished with 15 digs.
Southern Miss returns to action when the Golden Eagles host UNO on Sept. 15 at 6 p.m.
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