HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss volleyball team battled North Texas in taking a 3-1 (29-27, 22-25, 25-21, 25-23) victory over the Mean Green Friday night in Conference USA action.
Southern Miss improved to 14-8 overall and 3-2 in league play while North Texas dropped to 12-7, 3-3.
The Golden Eagles placed four players in double-figure kills led by junior Quinci Hayward followed by sophomore Stephany Purdue with 16 kills, Jasmine Crowell had 15 and Lydian Bonner added 10. Mary Pursell led the Eagles with a match-high 22 digs. Kristen Fleming recorded 58 assists while Crowell finished with six blocks and Elise Ames added seven blocks.
The Black and Gold out-hit, out-dug and out-blocked North Texas as the Golden Eagles recorded 66 kills on a .274 hitting clip to go with 63 digs and 13.0 team blocks. The Mean Green finished with 58 kills, 61 digs and 10.0 team blocks.
"We had a nice balanced offense with 4 player in double digit kills," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "North Texas was a very determined team and they played with a lot of heart. It was a battle in each set. It was a great win against a very good NT team. I'm proud of the way we were able to finish the match."
Southern Miss jumped out early and led by as many five points midway through the set. North Texas then used a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 18-16. Following a timeout, North Texas kept its momentum going by scoring the next four points to take a 20-18 lead. From there, the teams battled back and forth until the Golden Eagles were able to get a kill and combo block to end the set with a 29-27 win.
After battling to a 7-7 tie to start the second set, North Texas used a 7-2 run for the 14-9 lead. The Mean Green did not relinquish that lead even though the Golden Eagles fought off four set points. North Texas took the second set 25-22.
The teams traded points through the first 18 points before the Golden Eagles was able to put a 5-2 run for the 14-11 lead. North Texas tied the set at 14-14 to force the Eagles to take a timeout. Out of the timeout, the home team pushed its lead to 20-16 before the Mean Green cut the lead to 22-19. Southern Miss scored three of the final five points for the 25-21 win.
The battled continued into the fourth set as there were 13 ties and five lead changes. With the scored tied at 15-15, Southern Miss was able to score five of the next seven points for the 20-17 lead. After a NT timeout, the Mean Green scored points on a kill and block to get the score to 20-19. The teams traded points for the next seven points for a 23-23 tie. Purdue ended the set with back to back kills for the Eagles in posting a 25-23 win.
Carnae Dillard led North Texas with a match-high 22 kills while Hanna Forst added a double-double with 12 kills and team-best 18 digs. Holly Milam tallied 10 kills and six total blocks. Eboni Godfrey picked up 12 digs.
Southern Miss remains at home to host Marshall on Sunday with the first serve set for 12 p.m.
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