HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- A quartet of Golden Eagles tallied double-digit kills in leading Southern Miss past a feisty Louisiana Tech squad in five sets 25-23, 25-27, 25-16, 28-30, 15-8 in Conference USA action Sunday afternoon.
Southern Miss improved to 19-6 overall and 6-2 in league play while LA Tech dropped to 7-14 and 1-7.
"I'm really proud of the way Stephany bounced back from her match on Friday night," Head Coach Amanda Berkley said. "She had a great match today. She is such a good player that she found a way to bounce back. Elise Ames probably had one of her best matches. She was very good offensively, and defensively, she's what kept us in the match. Sarah Bell had another great match. She does not play like a freshman. She has been great at distributing the ball and making good decisions."
Stephany Purdue posted a match-high 17 kills while Elise Ames added 15 kills on 28 swings for a .536 hitting clip. Rachel Johnson and Kelsey Chambers tallied 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Sarah Bell added another double-double with 56 assists and 17 digs. Mary Pursell also had 17 digs while Shelby Russell had 12, Kylie Grandy 11 and Purdue 10.
Southern Miss finished with 67 kills on .202 hitting, had 78 digs and 14.0 team blocks. LA Tech had 68 kills, 87 digs and 11.0 team blocks.
The opening set, set the tone for the match. LA Tech scored five of the first six points to start the set, but Sothern Miss found a way to fight its way back into the set using a 12-7 run in taking a 13-12 lead. Out of a timeout, the Golden Eagles kept the momentum with a Grandy kill. The Lady Techsters got back-to-back kills to tie the set. From there, the teams traded points until LA Tech put down a pair of kills to take an 18-16 lead. After a Southern Miss timeout, the home team outscored LA Tech 5-1 in regaining a 21-19 lead. The Golden Eagles ended the set strong in taking a 25-23 win.
The second set featured 12 ties and four lead changes. Both teams tallied 16 kills each, but LA Tech managed to out-hit the Golden Eagles .244 to .175. The teams battled back and forth throughout the set. The Golden Eagles held set point at 24-23, but LA Tech was able to hold off the home team and in the process came away with a 27-25 win.
The third set started like the first two with the teams in a heated battled. Through the first 18 points there were at least five ties. Southern Miss then added four consecutive points to go ahead 13-9. With the momentum switch, the Golden Eagles cruised to a 25-16 win.
After 14 ties and six lead changes in the fourth set alone as the Lady Techsters found a way to combat every run the Golden Eagles had. Neither team was able to sustain any type of lead because of some outstanding defensive plays by both teams. Down the stretch, Southern Miss had to fight off four set points, but in the end LA Tech was able to hold on for a 30-28 win.
The teams battled back and forth through the first 10 points. Southern Miss then took control scoring eight of the next 12 points for a 12-9 lead. Southern Miss ended the set with a 3-1 run for a 15-10 win.
Marta Monne led the Lady Techsters with 15 kills while Alexa Lister had 12 and Hannah McRee and Angela Papach added 10 kills each. Alejandra Aviles picked up a match-high 24 digs with Helena Gunnarosdottir adding 13 and Jacie McClure 11.
Southern Miss will travel to Florida Atlantic on Oct. 21 with a 6 p.m. first serve.
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