Clean Offensive Display Leads to 3-1 Win Over North Texas
Historic mark in service aces for Southern Miss
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Five Golden Eagles hit above .300 as Southern Miss cruised to a 3-1 win over North Texas (25-18, 25-15, 22-25, 25-10) on Sunday afternoon inside Reed Green Coliseum. The home team did not trail until the third set.
Southern Miss also had 13 service aces, its most since also having a baker's dozen against Troy on Sept. 16, 2006.
The team's .341 hitting percentage was its best mark since a .371 showing nine days prior at Middle Tennessee, which was then the best by the team since Nov. 9, 2014 vs. East Carolina. Catherine Repsher, Stephany Purdue and Kylie Grandy each had 13 kills, with Repsher's .526 hitting percentage leading the way.
Southern Miss (18-7, 7-3 C-USA) never trailed by less than three in the first set once it took a 10-5 lead. North Texas called a timeout when it trailed 19-13, but a 4-1 run forced the home squad to do the same. Purdue then came out with the first of her three kills over that final stretch as Southern Miss took the first set.
Two Sarah Bell service aces sandwiched a Grandy kill, and the Mean Green stopped play with an 8-2 deficit. One of their attack errors upped the Golden Eagle lead to 20-9, the highest of the day, and Grandy fittingly ended the set with a service ace.
North Texas (11-14, 5-5 C-USA) went back to the locker room at intermission and came out for the third set with a 6-2 deficit, but chipped away and got to within 13-12 and made Southern Miss call a timeout after three straight points. The Golden Eagles looked in prime position after a Stephany Purdue kill made it 20-17, but the Mean Green fought their way back to a 22-20 lead they did not relinquish.
Southern Miss came out with a vengeance in the fourth set, leading 6-1 early and making it 18-7 on an amazing three consecutive service aces by Natalie Druhan. The score got up to 23-9 before Grandy and Chanel Joyce finished the day with kills.
Two more home contests remain for the Golden Eagles, both this weekend. The first is a Friday 6 p.m. tilt versus UAB with Rice coming in at noon on Sunday for Senior Day.
NOTABLE -Catherine Repsher has hit above .500 in six matches this year.
-Stephany Purdue is within 22 kills of tying the school's all-time record (Tosha Barnicoat, 1,566 from 1996-99).
-Sarah Bell posted 50 assists for the sixth time this season and 14th of her career. She entered the weekend No. 12 nationally with 12.13 per set.
-Natalie Druhan's four aces were a career-high.
-Southern Miss hit .700 in the fourth set (15 kills).