HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss volleyball team captured a three-set win over East Carolina (25-13, 25-13, 25-14) in Conference USA action Friday night.
"This was a great team effort," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "I thought our middles played very well tonight. We saw a lot of good things happening with our blocking. We were very active on the back row as well."
Southern Miss improved to 13-12 overall and 4-6 in league play while East Carolina fell to 11-16 and 2-8. The Golden Eagles collected 50 kills on a team-high .478 hitting clip while holding the Pirates to .128 hitting. Southern Miss out-dug East Carolina, 35 to 26, and claimed the blocking battle 7.0 to 2.0.
Offensively, three Golden Eagles tallied double-digit kills led by Quinci Hayward with 13 kills on a .524 hitting clip followed by Jasmine Crowell with 12 kills on .556 hitting and Elise Ames connected on 10 of her 12 errorless swings to hit .833. Stephanie Purdue and Mary Pursell picked up seven digs apiece. Kristen Fleming dished out 38 assists. Crowell also added four blocks while Hayward recorded three.
Southern Miss scored seven of the first nine points in taking a 7-2 lead early. The teams traded the next three points before the Golden Eagles used an 8-4 run for a 16-8 lead. East Carolina added a point out the a timeout, but Southern Miss regrouped and pushed the lead to 21-10 as the Eagles recorded kills from Ames, Hayward, Lydia Bonner and Purdue. After the Pirated scored three of the next four points, Southern Miss ended the set with a Hayward solo block in taking a 25-13 win.
The second set remained close through the first six points before the Golden Eagles scored five unanswered points for the 8-3 lead. Southern Miss continued to get timely points as Ames had back-to-back kills to give the Eagles a 16-7 lead. Out of the ECU timeout, Southern Miss kept its momentum up, scoring the next five points for the 20-7 lead. Southern Miss took the second set 25-13 while finishing with a .407 hitting in recording 14 kills.
Four consecutive kills put the Eagles up 4-0 to start the third set. East Carolina battled to 7-6 using a 6-3 run. The teams traded kills before Shelby Russell's ace ignited a 9-5 run in pushing the Eagles ahead, 18-11. After a Pirate timeout, Southern Miss closed out the set with a 7-3 run for the 25-14 win.
Nicole Willis led the Pirates with seven kills while Virginia Fitch and Kierra Lee-Dunson added six kills apiece. Shelby Beasley picked up 10 digs while Zarah Cecich had 18 assists.
Southern Miss' match against Grambling State scheduled for Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. has been cancelled due to a scheduling conflict. The Golden Eagles will remain at home to host Marshall on Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. and face FIU on Nov. 10 at 12 p.m.
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