HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- A 14-4 run during the first set gave Southern Miss an 18-7 lead, and it held on to that momentum the rest of the night for a sweep (25-16, 25-18, 25-23) of Louisiana Tech on Friday night inside Reed Green Coliseum. It was the Golden Eagles' ninth consecutive win in the series.
"It was another good team win for us," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "LA Tech really came on strong in that third set, so I was proud of the team coming back from that and fighting for that win. LA Tech had a lot of energy in that set and we had to counter that. Natalie Druhan had a great match; she was in the right place and was doing a good job getting all those digs."
Kylie Grandy produced four kills in a six-point span during that run, just missing a double-double (11 kills, nine digs) on the night overall. Louisiana Tech called a timeout when it got to 18-7 and actually outscored the Golden Eagles 9-7 the rest of the way.
The Southern Miss (15-6, 4-2 C-USA) wave continued in the second set, opening up a 6-1 lead that forced another Lady Techster timeout. Five of those points came via the kill, with Stephany Purdue owning two of them. The two teams jockeyed back and forth before LA Tech made its closest deficit at 12-8. The Golden Eagles held their visitors at bay to make them call another timeout facing a 17-12 margin. The Golden Eagles ended any possible threats with consecutive kills by Catherine Repsher and Chanel Joyce that sent them to intermission with a 2-0 lead.
The third set saw LA Tech (10-12, 1-5 C-USA) take its biggest lead of the night at 10-7, and even a 5-2 run by the Golden Eagles did not seem to faze the Lady Techsters who ultimately went back up 16-13 to force Southern Miss into its first timeout of the match. Back-to-back kills by Grandy and Purdue tied it at 17 and then two more by Grandy and Coombs, with the latter coming off a dig that went just over the net for an easy hit down the middle. LA Tech then called a timeout of its own after the abrupt 19-17 deficit. The match would not be tied the rest of the way.
Southern Miss will return to action next Friday night at Middle Tennessee with a 7 p.m. start.
-The nine straight wins in the head-to-head series gives Southern Miss a 14-3 edge overall.
-Southern Miss tied for a season-low in service errors (3, also in sweeps of Virginia and UMKC).
-Stephany Purdue's match-high 12 kills gives her 1,499 for her career. She is 67 behind Tosha Barnicoat (1996-99) for the all-time school record.
-Purdue also squeezed out a double-double (10 digs) for her fifth of the season.
-Setter Sarah Bell held a crisp .714 hitting percentage (five kills, no errors on seven attempts).
-Natalie Druhan's 15 kills came after she entered the night with 4.06 per set, fifth-best in C-USA for league-matches only.
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