HOUSTON, Texas -- The Southern Miss volleyball team dropped a 3-0 (25-22, 25-21, 25-22) decision at Rice on Thursday in Conference USA action.
Junior Stephany Purdue led the team with a team-best 15 kills to go with 10 digs in recording a double-double. Kylie Grandy added 11 kills. Sarah Bell handed out 38 assists while Mary Pursell picked up 12 digs.
Rice took the first set 25-22 in spite of the Golden Eagles tallying 19 kills on a .417 hitting clip. The set was close throughout as the Owls were able to answer every run the Golden Eagles had. The Owls hit .405.
The two battled in the second set, but Rice was able to hold off the Golden Eagles late in taking a 25-21 win. The Golden Eagles led 13-10 but Rice used a 7-2 run to take the lead for good. Rice put down 15 kills while hold Southern Miss to just 10.
The Golden Eagles scored the first three points to start the set before Rice scored the next four of the next five points to tie the set at 5-5. The teams battled back and forth before Rice had back-to-back kills to take a 16-14 lead. Southern Miss fought back to tie the set at 18-18. However, Riced ended the set strong for the 25-22 win.
Noelle Whitlock, Leah Mikesky and Chelsey Harris all tallied 14 kills each for Rice. Kimberly Vaio led finished with 15 digs as did Mikesky with 11. Madison McDaniel had 39 assists and 15 digs.
Rice out-hit Southern Miss .279 to .232 and out-dug the Golden Eagles 56 to 49.
Southern Miss remains on the road with a visit to North Texas on Friday at 7 p.m.
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