MIAMAI, Fla. - The Southern Miss volleyball team placed four players in double figure kills, led by senior outside hitter Jasmine Crowell with 25 as the Golden Eagles defeated FIU in a five-set match, 3-2 (17-25, 25-14, 25-23, 22-25, 17-15.
Southern Miss improved to 16-9 and 5-3 in league play while FIU dropped to 6-15 and 3-5.
Lydia Bonner recorded 19 kills while Elise Ames had 11 kills and Stephany Purdue added a double-double with 11 kills and 13 digs. Kristen Fleming also had a double-double with 65 assists and 12 digs. Mary Pursell totaled a team-best 19 digs while Alex Pfefferle had 14 and Shelby Russell picked up 12 digs. Southern Miss finished the match with 77 kills on a .145 hitting clip, four aces, 79 digs and 8.0 blocks.
FIU had 40 kills on .119 hitting, two aces, 61 digs and 16.0 blocks.
FIU took the early lead in taking advantage of several Golden Eagle hitting errors as the Panthers took a 10-2 lead. Southern Miss put together a mini-run in cutting the lead to 9-15, but FIU kept the momentum with big blocks at the net to keep the Eagles at bay. FIU took the first set 25-16 as the Panthers held Southern Miss to a -.020 hitting percentage.
FIU scored the first two points to start the second set before Southern Miss fought back to tie the set at 3-3. The Golden Eagles then scored four of the next five points in taking a 7-4 lead. The teams traded points before the visitors used a 10-3 run in taking an 18-10 lead to force FIU into a timeout. The Golden Eagles kept the momentum out of the timeout and was able to finish strong for the 25-14 win.
The teams traded points through the first 20 points, battling to a 10-10 tie. FIU then scored four of the next five points for the 14-11 lead. Southern Miss fought back using a 7-3 run in taking an 18-17 lead. From there, the visitors scored the next three points for a 21-18 advantage. After Southern Miss pushed its lead to 24-21, the Panthers fought off three set points for the Eagles got a kill from Elise Ames for the 25-23 win.
Both teams battled throughout the entire set that featured outstanding defense both at the net and on the back row. The set featured 13 ties and eight lead changes as the teams continued to trade points. After the teams battled to an 18-18 tie, FIU strung a pair of points together for the 20-18 lead. From there, the home team was able to maintain the momentum and the lead down the stretch for the 25-22 win in tying the match at 2-2.
FIU ran out to a 5-2 lead to start the fifth set. Southern Miss then used a 6-1 run in taking an 8-6 lead. FIU then scored three straight points to regain the 9-8 lead. The teams began trading points and battled to the 10-10 before Southern Miss took advantage of a pair of FIU error for the two-point advantage. After a USM service error, FIU closed to within 12-11, but the Golden Eagles put up a big block and got a kill from Crowell to the 14-11 lead. FIU did not go quietly as the Panthers scored three straight to tie the set at 14-14. The Teams traded points before the Black and Gold put down back-to-back kills to take the final set, 17-15.
Lucia Castro led the Panthers with a double-double with 12 kills and 11 digs. Lea Montavon added 13 digs.
Southern Miss returns home to host UAB on Friday and Louisiana Tech on Sunday.
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