HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Four Golden Eagles notched double-digit kills in leading Southern Miss past Charlotte in a five-set thriller 3-2 (21-25, 25-13, 25-17, 23-25, 15-12) Sunday afternoon in Reed Green Coliseum.
Southern Miss improved to 23-9 overall and 10-5 in league play while Charlotte fell to 8-17 and 5-9.
Stephany Purdue led the quartet of Eagles with 17 kills followed by Elise Ames with 14, Kylie Grandy added 13 and Rachel Johnson chipped in 10 kills. Southern Miss also had four players post double figure digs as Mary Pursell finished with 25, becoming the single-season leader with 615. Grandy and Purdue added 13 and 12 digs, respectively, in recording double-doubles. Shelby Russell also picked up 12 digs. Johnson also had six total blocks and Ames added five total blocks.
The Golden Eagles finished with 68 kills on a .226 hitting clip, six aces, 77 digs and 13.0 team blocks.
Charlotte scored eight of the first nine points in running out to an 8-1 lead. The 49ers pushed the lead to 12-4, forcing Southern Miss to take a much needed timeout to regroup. Out of the timeout, Southern Miss outscored Charlotte 7-1 in cutting the lead to 13-11. The teams eventually battled to a 17-17 tie before trading points on a couple of possessions. Charlotte then took control and closed out the set with a 7-4 run for a 25-21 win.
Southern Miss roared back in the second set, scoring nine of the first 12 points in taking a 9-3 lead. After a Charlotte timeout, the teams traded points before the home team added three straight points in putting the Eagles up 17-8. The Golden Eagles closed out the set with an 8-5 run for the 25-13 win. Southern Miss held Charlotte to six kills on a -.083 hitting clip.
The 49ers took the early lead to start the third set, running out to a 7-4 lead. The Golden Eagles answered back, using an 8-1 run to take a 12-8 lead. The Black and Gold continued to increase their lead with a combination of kills and Charlotte errors. Southern Miss took the third set 25-17.
Charlotte came out in the fourth set, hitting on all cylinders in taking an 8-3 lead. The 49ers kept the Golden Eagle offense in check as Southern Miss took its second timeout, trailing 16-10. The Golden Eagles battled back using an 8-5 run that included a spark from Ames and Purdue to get within 21-20. Out of the timeout, Charlotte added a point before the teams began trading points for the next six points before Charlotte ended the set behind a kill for the 25-23 win.
The teams traded points to start the fifth set. Then, Southern Miss put down back-to-back kills and a Charlotte error to take a 4-1 lead. Charlotte answered right back, scoring three straight to tie the set at 4-4. The battle ensued as the traded point-for-point for the next eight points. Charlotte quickly added a pair of points, but the Golden Eagles were able to string together three consecutive points for an 11-10 lead. Out of a timeout, Charlotte tied the set at 11-11 and again at 12-12 before Southern Miss closed out the set scoring the final three points for the 15-12 win.
Abreia Epps led Charlotte with 16 kills and Kaylyn Torain added nine to go with 11 digs. Shelby Green led with 16 digs and three aces. Sarah McDonald also had 11 digs. Anna Henderson and Marshae Bradbury recorded seven and eight blocks, respectively.
Charlotte finished with 42 kills on .105 hitting, five aces, 60 digs and 17.0 team blocks.
Southern Miss will close out the regular season when the Golden Eagles host UTSA on Thursday at 6 p.m.
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