BRIMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team earned a hard fought 3-1 victory over UAB Sunday afternoon by the scores of 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 25-22 to improve to 16-5 on the season and 3-1 in Conference USA play.
UAB dropped to 7-13 overall and 0-6 in league play.
Junior outside hitter Stephany Purdue the team with a match-high 17 kills on her way to recording her 1,000th-kill. Freshman outside hitter Kylie Grandy added 13 kills and a match-high 24 digs. Senior libero Mary Pursell picked up 23 digs while freshman setter Sarah Bell finished with 41 assists and 11 digs. Senior defensive specialist Shelby Russell added 10 digs.
Southern Miss out-killed, out-hit, out-dug and out-blocked the UAB. The Golden Eagles finished with 55 kills on .183 hitting, had 75 digs and 11.0 team blocks while UAB had 40 kills on a .135 hitting clip, 60 digs and 7.0 team blocks.
The two teams battled to start the first set, trading points through the first 18 possessions. With the scored tied at 9-9, a pair of kills and a block by the Eagles put Southern Miss up 12-9. UAB added back-to-back points in cutting the lead to 12-11. The teams traded points before Southern Miss before a Grandy kill ignited a 5-1 run that led to an 18-13 lead. UAB answered with a 5-3 run that cut the lead to 21-18. From there, Southern Miss closed out the set scoring four of the final five points for a 25-19 win.
The second set featured nine ties and four lead changes. The Golden Eagles tallied 13 kills while UAB posted just 10, but Southern Miss had a .044 hitting clip in the set. The teams battled throughout the set until UAB ended the set on a 5-2 run to for the 25-21 win.
Southern Miss sprinted out to a 5-0 lead to start the third set. Out of a Blazer timeout, UAB battled back scoring 10 of the next 16 points to cut the lead to 11-10. After a Southern Miss timeout, UAB added back-to-back service aces and used an Eagle error in taking a 13-11 lead. The Golden Eagles then proceeded to score five of the next six points to regain a 16-14 lead. UAB did tie the set 17-17, but Southern Miss was able to regain the momentum and ended the set on an 8-3 run for a 25-20 win.
Southern Miss scored the first two points to start the fourth set. The teams battled to a 6-6 tie before the Golden Eagles scored four straight points in taking a 10-6 lead. UAB was able to cut the lead to 17-15. Out of a timeout, Southern Miss scored the next four points to take a 21-15 lead. The Golden Eagles eventually extended the lead to 24-20. UAB fought off a pair of match points before Elise Ames and Bell got a block for the final point of the set for a 25-22 win.
Gabby Deshotel and Jullian Tinglin paced the Blazers with 15 and 13 kills, respectively. Emma Schroer finished with 21 digs.
Southern Miss returns home to host Middle Tennessee on Oct. 9 at 6 p.m.
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