Sept. 13, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss volleyball team earned a hard fought 3-1 victory over McNeese State Saturday night by the scores of 30-28, 25-16, 22-25, 25-13 in the final match of the Big Daddy's Invitational to improve to 7-2 on the season.
The Golden Eagles placed four players in double figure kills led by freshman Stephany Purdue and sophomore Quinci Hayward with 17 kills apiece while Jasmine Crowell tallied 14 kills and Elise Ames added 13.
Setter Kristen Fleming dished out a season-high 60 assists to go with 10 digs and sophomore libero Mary Pursell tallied a team-high 15 digs. Ames also recorded seven total blocks.
The Golden Eagles also tallied four service aces, with Alex Pfefferle recording two and Crowell and Fleming each recording one.
Malina Sanchez led McNeese with 18 kills as Rachel Cagnina posted 14. Vanessa Bentley and Kelly Graham combined for 39 assists while Kara Rockey and Kimberlyn Patterson topped the squad with 15 and 10 dig, respectively. Amber Fryer notched five blocks.
McNeese jumped out to the early lead, 8-4, before Southern Miss took advantage of several Cowgirl errors to close the gap to 11-10. McNeese then pushed its lead to 14-11 before the Golden Eagles stormed with three straight kills to even the set at 14-14. The Cowgirls answered with two kills and an ace in taking a 17-14 lead. From there, the teams battled back and forth for the remainder of the set. Both teams had opportunities to take the set, but both teams turned in stellar defensive efforts and timely kills to keep the set close. After McNeese took a 28-27 lead, Southern Miss was able to close out the set with back to back kills by Lydia Bonner and Purdue and an attack error on the Cowgirls for the 30-28 win.
After bolting out to a 10-4 lead to open the second set, Southern Miss used a solid service game and timely kills in taking a 25-16 win. The Golden Eagles held McNeese offense to just nine kills with a .033 hitting clip.
McNeese took a 7-4 lead to start the third set. Southern Miss eventually tied the set at 8-8 with the help of a couple of Pfefferle aces and timely kills from Purdue and Bonner. After McNeese extended its lead to 15-11, Southern Miss took a timeout to break the Cowgirls' momentum. The Golden Eagles made a mini-run to get the score to 19-16 before McNeese burned a timeout. After the Cowgirls' timeout, McNeese was able to match the Eagles point for point in earning the 25-22 win.
The two teams traded points to start the fourth set before the Eagles got an ace and a pair of kills from Bonner and Ames in taking a 5-2 lead. The teams eventually battled to a 7-7 tied before Southern Miss ran off four straight points for the 11-7 lead. After leading 16-9, the Golden Eagles closed out the set with an 8-4 run for the 25-13 win.
Southern Miss is back on the court Saturday morning for a 9 a.m. match against ULM.