HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team's rally came up short and dropped a five-set match, 3-2 (23-25, 25-22, 14-25, 25-19, 15-11) to UTSA on Thursday night in Conference USA action in closing out the regular season at home.
It was just the second time this season that the Golden Eagles lost a home match as Southern Miss fell to 23-10 overall and 10-6 in C-USA while UTSA improved to 22-7 and 13-2.
A trio of Golden Eagles tallied double digit kills led by Stephany Purdue and Kylie Grandy recorded double-doubles. Purdue finished with 15 kills and 11 digs while Grandy added 11 kills and 10 digs. Rachel Johnson chipped in 12 kills on a .500 hitting clip. Elise Ames recorded eight kills but added 10 total blocks. Mary Pursell picked up 27 digs and Sarah Bell had 50 assists.
Southern Miss finished with 57 kills, 67 digs and 14.0 team blocks.
The teams played evenly to start the set before Southern Miss tacked on four straight points in taking a 10-7 lead. UTSA chipped away at the lead, getting timely kills and blocks. The Roadrunners used an 8-2 run to overcome a five point deficit. The teams battled back and forth down the stretch until ended the set with back-to-back blocks for a 25-23 win.
In spite of 12 ties and five lead changes, Southern Miss used a .306 hitting clip in evening the match at 1-1 with a 25-22 win in the second set. The teams battled throughout the set with neither team leading by more than three points during the set. Southern Miss held a 19-16 lead late but UTSA battled back to cut the lead to 19-18, forcing the Golden Eagles to take a timeout. The teams traded points before Southern Miss got back-to-back kills for a 23-19 lead. Southern Miss held off the Roadrunners for a 25-22 win.
UTSA came out in the third set and took a 3-3 tie and turned it into a 13-8 lead. The Roadrunners got their offensive game clicking on all cylinders in taking a double digit lead. UTSA had 14 kills on a .423 hitting clip while holding Southern Miss to nine kills on .086 hitting for a 25-14 win.
Southern Miss bolted out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back to start the fourth set. The Golden Eagles finished with a .481 hitting clip in registering 15 kills. UTSA was able to cut the lead to four, but the home team finished strong down the stretch to take a 25-19 win.
In the fifth set, Southern Miss scored three of the first four points but UTSA rallied behind Dajana Boskovic attack in taking a 7-5 lead to force the Golden Eagles into a timeout. UTSA added a pair of points courtesy of Southern Miss errors, but the Black and Gold regroup to cut the lead to 9-8. From there, Roadrunners added three straight points to push the lead to 12-8 and did not let up, coming away with a 15-11 win.
Boskovic led UTSA with a match-high 28 kills and 19 digs. Marijeta Runjic added 10. Annie Kunes picked up 22 digs while Amanda Gonzales had 47 assists and 10 digs. Jordan Kotara also had 11 digs.
The Roadrunners finished the match with 62 kills on .216 hitting, 79 digs and 10.o team blocks.
Southern Miss now heads into the Conference USA Tournament, but the Golden Eagles' seed have yet to be determined.
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