EL PASO, Texas -- Senior Chanel Joyce posted a career-high 14 kills for the second consecutive match and had no errors as Southern Miss cruised to a 3-0 sweep of UTEP (25-17, 25-17, 25-22) on Sunday afternoon. It was the Golden Eagles' fifth straight win in the series.
Southern Miss (14-6, 3-2 C-USA) posted a whopping .324 hitting percentage, its highest in a conference match since Nov. 1, 2013 versus East Carolina. Joyce's .700 hitting percentage (14 kills, 0 errors, 20 attempts) was the second-best by any C-USA player in a league match this season and third overall. It was also the highest by anyone in a Southern Miss uniform since Elise Ames (.750) on Sept. 20, 2014 versus Georgia.
"I think this team did a great job bouncing back from Thursday," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "They were really composed. Chanel Joyce had a fantastic match with no errors, really a great match. Sarah Bell did a nice job moving the ball around and putting us in position for kills."
It was 5-5 before Southern Miss ultimately opened up leads of 13-7 and 17-11. The first of those forced a UTEP timeout after kills by Coombs and Repsher preceded a bad Miner set.
Set Two saw the Golden Eagles go up 6-3 and 11-6, another early cushion that paved the way for successful results later. Both teams traded service errors that saw Southern Miss still clinging to a 19-16 lead, but the team finished with a 6-1 run that was capped off by Repsher and Joyce kills.
The third set saw Southern Miss open up another 10-6 lead, but the Miners later scored three straight points to force Southern Miss into a timeout holding its 23-22 lead. Stephany Purdue picked up a kill that caused UTEP to call one of its own. Joyce's kill then closed it out in fitting fashion.
The Golden Eagles will return to Hattiesburg for a Friday 6 p.m. match versus Louisiana Tech.
-Catherine Repsher's 11 kills paved the way for a .444 hitting percentage, her third time in six matches having that mark or better (.478 versus No. 25 K-State, .615 at North Texas).
-Stephany Purdue's nine kills gives her 1,487 for her career, just 79 away from reaching Southern Miss' all-time record holder Tosha Barnicoat.
-Sarah Bell's 42 assists tied for her best in a three-set match (vs. UMKC).
-Natalie Druhan led the defensive effort with 16 digs. -Kylie Grandy and Chanel Joyce each had a pair of solo blocks.
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