HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team faced a stiff test from visiting Charlotte, but the Golden Eagles continued to find ways to win and pulled out a Friday night sweep (25-23, 25-16, 25-22) over the 49ers.
Southern Miss (17-7, 6-3 C-USA) allowed just an .093 hitting percentage, its lowest since ULM went .043 on Sept. 13. It was also the best display against a C-USA team since holding Florida Atlantic to .053 on Nov. 9, 2014.
The match was tied at 21 in the first set and 22 in the third, marking just a few of the 32 deadlocks and 18 lead changes on the evening.
"I thought Chanel, Stephany and Kylie did a nice job," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "They scored and were creative in their scoring. Sarah did a great job finding them and putting them in good situations. I also thought we blocked pretty well, and Cat Repsher did a nice job there and was disciplined on the block."
The Golden Eagles trailed 9-6 and 12-10 in the first bout before an attack error put them up 15-13, forcing the first Charlotte timeout of the night. The 49ers turned around and had back-to-back service aces that made Southern Miss do the same at 17-all. The tables turned for good when Repsher picked up a kill and Purdue followed with a service ace to extend the lead to 23-21.
Charlotte (7-18, 1-8 C-USA) again was the aggressor early in the second set, leading 10-7. Once again, service aces played a pivotal role, but this time it was the home squad. Grandy, one of the top-10 performers in C-USA in that category, produced two in a row, and then two 49er attack errors and a Repsher kill forced a Charlotte timeout, trailing 14-11. Southern Miss cruised from there, and the nine-point win was its highest lead of the night.
Southern Miss trailed 9-7 to start the third and final set, but chipped away and had ties at 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 points. It called a timeout with a 16-14 deficit that then became 18-14 on back-to-back Janell Sparks kills. The Golden Eagles then scored five straight, despite a Charlotte timeout, to take a 19-18 lead. The 49ers' Molly Shaw recorded a kill that tied it at 22, but kills by Grandy and Alexis Coombs that sandwiched a ball-handling error were the final three points.
The four-match home stretch continues with North Texas coming in for a Sunday noon match.
-The seven service aces were the most by Southern Miss against a C-USA opponent since having nine in four sets at UAB on Oct. 4, 2015.
-Stephany Purdue is now 35 kills away from tying Tosha Barnicoat's all-time career record at the school (1,566).
-Kylie Grandy's team-highs of 12 kills and 11 digs gives her a Golden Eagle-best nine double-doubles. She also hit .300 on the evening.
-Purdue's 10 kills and 11 digs also gives her six double-doubles this year.
-Chanel Joyce's 11 kills marked her fourth of the last six matches with double-digit kills. She had five of those in the previous 17 outings.
-Natalie Druhan's two service aces also matched Grandy and Purdue in that department.
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