Oct. 6, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss volleyball team snapped a six-match losing streak, posting a 3-2 (25-22, 18-25, 20-25, 25-13, 15-8) set victory over Rice Sunday afternoon.
The Golden Eagles improved to 10-8 overall and 1-2 in league play while Rice dropped to 4-14 and 1-3 in C-USA play.
"I am really proud of the way our team fought in the final two sets to pull out a win," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "We have been in every match, but today we finally capitalized on some of the mistakes of the other team for a change. I thought we played hard and we played with a lot of energy in those final sets."
Quinci Hayward led recorded a match-high 22 kills while Jasmine Crowell added 15 for the Golden Eagles. Mary Pursell picked up a match-high 23 digs to go with two aces. Kristen Fleming handed out 55 assists.
In the first set, the Golden Eagle squad quickly jumped out to a 7-3 lead before forcing Rice to use its first timeout. After the break, the Eagles took the next two points and eventually took a 9-3 lead. The Owls gradually chipped away at the Golden Eagle lead and eventually cut the lead to just 20-18 before Southern Miss used a time out. Out of the timeout, the Golden Eagles scored the Owls 5-2 in taking the first set, 25-22.
USM began the second set much like the first, getting out to an 11-7 lead before Rice called its first timeout. Rice regrouped and used a 6-1 in taking a 13-12 lead. Out of a Southern Miss timeout, the Eagles got a kill and ace to regain the lead at 14-13. From there, Rice scored the next five points in pushing the lead to 18-14. Southern Miss took its final timeout before Rice closed out the set scoring seven of the final 11 points for 25-18 win.
Rice came out strong in the third set and quickly got ahead of Southern Miss, 10-5. The teams battled back and forth, but Rice was able to disrupt any offensive flow with tough defense and a solid blocking attack at the net. Rice took the third set, 25-20.
The Golden Eagles found themselves down 2-1 in sets when they entered the fourth set. The set was close throughout as the two teams battled back-and-forth. Neither team could get much of a lead as the set had 13 ties and six lead changes. With the set tied at 20-20, Rice had a service error and the Eagles added a block for the 22-20 lead. Out of a Rice timeout, Southern Miss added another point giving Southern Miss a three-point advantage. Rice cut the lead to 24-23 before Ames closed the set with a kill for the 25-23 win.
With all the energy from the previous set, the Eagles carried it over to the fifth when they jumped out to a 6-4 advantage. Following a Rice timeout, Southern Miss added two more points for the 8-4 lead. Following the change-over, the Golden Eagles pushed the lead to 10-5 before closing out the set using a 5-3 run for the 15-8 win.
Rice placed four players in double figure kills with Chelsey Harris leading the way with 15 kills, Jillian Humphrey and Tyler Jenkins put down 14 kills apiece and Lizzy Bache added 12. Daniela Arenas recorded 18 digs while Sara Blasier had 52 assists.
Southern Miss will remain at home when the Golden Eagles host a pair of C-USA matches when UTSA visits Reed Green Coliseum on Oct. 11 and UTEP on Oct. 13.
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