Sept. 21, 2012
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss volleyball team claimed a win in its conference opener as the Golden Eagles outlasted Tulane in a five-set match, 3-2 (25-18, 9-25, 25-23, 18-15, 15-10).
Southern Miss (5-8, 1-0) had a trio of players notch double figure kills led by sophomore Jasmine Crowell with 17. Senior Halie Ecker and freshman Quinci Hayward added 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Sophomore Alex Pfefferle came up with 13 digs to go with three aces. Sophomore setter Kristen handed out 47 assists.
"This was a total team effort," coach Abbey Sutherland said. "There were times we were inconsistent, but at the end of the day they found a way to win. I believe that's what good teams do. We are a continued work in progress and this first win gives us confidence as we head to UTEP for another tough match."
USM popped out to a 4-1 lead to start the opening set as Pfefferle recorded two aces. The teams went back and forth before the Golden Eagles rattled off three straight points in taking a 12-7 lead and force the Green Wave to take a timeout. The teams traded points for the next eight points. USM got a kill from Rachel Johnson and Crowell in addition to a big combo block by Johnson and Hayward for the 19-11 lead. Tulane called its second time then scored four of the next five points in forcing USM to take a timeout as well. The teams traded points for the final eight points as USM took the first set, 25-18.
Tulane completed dominated the second set in claiming a 25-9 victory. The Green Wave connected on 16 kills with no errors on .696 hitting. Tulane held USM to only six kills and .080 hitting.
The third set featured 10 ties and five lead changes. The Golden Eagles built an 8-4 lead, but Tulane battled back using a 5-1 run to tie the set at 9-9. From there, the teams battled back and forth for the next 19 points with Tulane gaining a 19-18 advantage. Southern Miss got a pair of kills from Hayward and one from Ecker for the 21-20 lead. Tulane tied the set at 21-21 before the Golden Eagles scored the next three points for a 24-21 lead. The Green Wave fought off a pair of set points before Ecker put down the final USM kill for a 25-23 win.
Tulane dashed out to an 8-4 lead to open the fourth set and was able to keep the Golden Eagles at bay for the remainder of the set in taking a 25-18 win to force a fifth set. The Green Wave tallied 17 kills on .448 hitting and held USM to .065 hitting. The Eagles managed only eight kills.
Southern Miss scored four of the first five points in taking a 4-1 lead. Following a Tulane timeout, the Green Wave got a kill and combo block to cut the lead to 4-3. USM then tacked on five more points with kills from Ecker and Lydia Bonner to go with three Tulane errors. Southern Miss led 10-4 after a combo block form Bonner and Elise Ames. Tulane then scored five of the next eight points to get within 13-9. After a Southern Miss timeout, Tulane's Grace Weaver recorded a kill before USM ended the set with a Tulane service error and a match-ending block from Fleming and Crowell for the 15-10 win.
Martone led Tulane with a match-high 24 kills to go with 16 digs. Weaver added 19 kills while Milica Jovic chipped in 11. Azarri Badawi also had 16 digs while Mel Mandelbaum finished with 58 assists and 14 digs.
Tulane out-hit the Golden Eagles .363 to .222 and out-dug USM 65 to 46.
Southern Miss will travel to UTEP for a Sunday matchup at 1 p.m. central.
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