HATTIESBURG, Miss.- Freshman Kylie Grandy and junior Chanel Joyce combined for 22 kills in leading the Golden Eagles past New Orleans, 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-21) Tuesday night to improve to 12-1 on the season.
"It was nice to get some under classman in there and get some experience for them," Head Coach Amanda Berkley said. "Alexis Coombs did a really nice job for us. She had a big night at the net with eight total blocks. Mary Pursell also did a nice job on defense coming up with 19 digs. Chanel and Kylie played well at the outside hitter positions."
Senior Libero Mary Pursell picked up 19 digs while Sarah Bell had 33 assists. Alexis Coombs recorded eight total blocks. Southern Miss finished with 39 kills on a .281 hitting clip, 40 digs, four aces and 12.0 team blocks.
The first set started off with New Orleans recording the first point of the match before Southern Miss followed up with a point of its own. Both teams then went point for point until the seventh point of the set, when the Golden Eagles took a 4-3 lead. Southern Miss continued the two point lead over the Privateers, going up 8-6. The home team would then go up 14-10 behind a pair of kills from Joyce and a combo block by Coombs and Kelsey Chambers, forcing New Orleans called its first timeout of the match. Following the timeout, the Privateers would score three of the next five points to narrow the home team's lead, 16-13. The Golden Eagles went on to finish the set by outscoring New Orleans 9-3 to win the set, 25-16.
Southern Miss went on a 4-0 run to start the second set. New Orleans would then score five of the next six points to tie the set 5-5. The teams traded points before settling in a 10-10 tie. Both teams went back and forth with the next eight points to make the score 14-14. The Golden Eagles scored six of the next eight points to take a 20-16 lead. From there, the Privateers would only score three more points before Southern Miss put the set away, 25-19.
The teams began the third set going back and forth for the first eight points in a 4-4 tie. Southern Miss scored the next eight points to take a 12-4 lead. New Orleans fought back by outscoring the Golden Eagles 8-2 to cut the lead to 14-12. The home team kept the two point lead for much of the set and held 20-18 advantage. Southern Miss would finish the set with a scoring five of the final eight points for the 25-21 win.
Blessing Dunn led the Privateers with 11 kills on a .364 hitting clip. Celeste Ramirez just missed a double-double with 34 assists and nine digs. Lauren Levy also picked up nine digs. UNO finished with 40 kills on a .171 hitting clip, 41 digs and 7.0 team blocks.
Southern Miss will travel to Memphis to play in its final in-season tournament when the Golden Eagles face Mississippi State in the Tiger Invitational on Friday at 4 p.m. Southern Miss will play against Memphis and Austin Peay on Saturday at 2 and 5 p.m., respectively.
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