CHARLOTTE, N.C. - In spite of a career-effort by Stephany Purdue with 25 kills, Southern Miss volleyball team came up short in falling to Charlotte in five sets (20-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-23, 15-9) in the season finale Sunday afternoon.
Southern Miss finished the regular season with a 20-13 record overall and 9-7 in league play while Charlotte improved to 17-16 and 6-10 in the league in claiming the final spot in the Conference USA Tournament.
Purdue led the Golden Eagles with a match-high 25 kills followed by Quinci Hayward with 10. With the 10 kills, Hayward became just the 16th player in Southern Miss history to record over 1,000 kills in a career. Mary Pursell picked up a match-high 28 digs while Kristen Fleming tallied 56 assists. Jasmine Crowell added eight kills and eight total blocks.
Both teams totaled 63 kills, however, the Golden Eagles out-hit Charlotte .255 to .211 and had 65 digs and 9.0 team blocks. Charlotte had 70 digs and 8.0 team blocks.
The team battled to an 11-11 tie before Charlotte scored four of the next five points in taking a 15-12 lead. Following a timeout, Charlotte outscored the Eagles 6-5 for the 21-17 lead. After the second USM timeout, the Eagles added a point from a Crowell kill, but Charlotte ended the set scoring four of the final six points to take the first set 25-20.
Set two featured eight ties and three lead changes through the first 26 points. The momentum finally switched into the Eagles' favor when Southern Miss recorded three-straight kills in taking a 15-13 lead. Out of a Charlotte timeout, Southern Miss added next four points with a pair of kills and blocks for a 19-13 lead. The Golden Eagles kept their momentum and finished the set with a 25-21 win.
Out of the intermission, the set started the same as set with the teams battling back and forth. After an 11-11 tie, Southern Miss scored the next three points in forging a 14-11 lead. Southern Miss kept the pressure on for the remainder of the set, outscoring Charlotte 11-4 down the stretch for the 25-15 win.
Set four turned into a dog fight as the set featured 13 ties and seven lead changes throughout. The teams battled back and forth for the first 30 points until Charlotte took the lead on an Eagle error and kill. Charlotte eventually took a three-point lead, 22-19, before Southern Miss fought back to cut the lead to 23-22. However, Charlotte was able to take the fourth set 25-23.
Southern Miss opened the fifth with a 6-1 lead before Charlotte used a 7-0 run in taking an 8-6 lead. From there, the Golden Eagles could not get their offense back on track as Charlotte won the final set 15-9.
Claire Kreuz led Charlotte with 20 kills and 13 digs followed by Irem Asci with 12 kills and 11 digs and Savannah Gaster added 10 kills. Morgan Barker finished with 23 digs.
Southern Miss returns to host the 2014 Conference USA Volleyball Championship, Nov. 21-23, in Reed Green Coliseum. This is the first time Southern Miss has hosted a conference championship since 1985. Tournament action begins on Friday at 12 p.m. with top seed UTSA taking on eighth-seed Charlotte, followed by (4) Rice and (5) Marshall at 2 p.m. No. 2 Western Kentucky and No. 7 Florida Atlantic will face off at 5 p.m., before No. 6 Southern Miss and No. 3 North Texas meet at 7 p.m.
Tickets are available at the Pat Ferlise Center. Single session ticket prices are $5 for adults and $3 for youth. Students from C-USA schools are free with a valid ID.
|Follow Southern Miss Women's Volleyball:||Follow @SouthernMissVB|