Southern Miss' Charmed Season Comes to an End in Five-Set Semifinal Defeat

Nov. 19, 2016

Final Stats

HOUSTON -- Southern Miss dropped Rice after a two-set deficit on the Nov. 6 Senior Day, but the host Owls held on this time for a heartbreaking C-USA semifinal defeat (19-25, 17-25, 28-26, 25-23, 15-5) on Saturday evening.

Southern Miss (23-8, 11-3 C-USA) was the No. 2 seed, its highest since winning the regular-season title in 2009. The Golden Eagles were seeking their first-ever Championship match berth. The senior class of Chanel Joyce, Stephany Purdue and Makareta Rademakers finished their careers as the program's most successful senior class, notching 84 wins.

"This match was just really neat that our team, despite being down 0-2 again, still found a way to make it real competitive," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "I'm really proud of this team and its season. It was unbelievable for the Southern Miss Volleyball program. I'm so proud of Chanel, Maka and Stephany for their contributions. They left this place better than when they arrived."

The fifth set was simply unkind to the Black and Gold, as Rice took a 6-2 lead after senior Stephany Purdue's kill opened the scoring and continued the Southern Miss momentum. Its last point of the season was a Kylie Grandy kill that got it within 9-5.

Purdue closed her storied Golden Eagle career with 1,631 career kills, padding her lead in the career-record book. She originally gained the crown in the pivotal third set against Rice on Nov. 6.

The fifth set was simply unkind to the Black and Gold, as Rice took a 6-2 lead after senior Stephany Purdue's kill opened the scoring and continued the Southern Miss momentum. Its last point of the season was a Kylie Grandy kill that got it within 9-5.

Purdue closed her storied Golden Eagle career with 1,631 career kills, padding her lead in the career-record book. She originally gained the crown in the pivotal third set against Rice on Nov. 6.

The third set saw the teams exchange ties from points No. 14 all the way to 26. Finally, the Golden Eagles broke through. Rademakers, a starter all season for the first time in her four years and who had just three kills all year, recorded her fourth as the lead upped to 27-26. Catherine Repsher did the same for the survival-mode victory.

Rice maintained a two-point cushion intermittently throughout the fourth set, leading 11-9, 12-10 and 13-11. All of a sudden, a dump by Sarah Bell, two Grandy kills and an Owl attack error gave Southern Miss a 15-13 lead and forced a Rice timeout. The Owls managed to regain their footing and looked poise to close it out on their home court as they retook a 19-18 margin. Four Purdue kills accounted for most of the next five points, and the Golden Eagles held on for a 25-23 win.

NOTES
-Southern Miss has reached the semifinals three times in four years under Amanda Berkley.
-The Golden Eagles boasted a program-best five All-Conference USA honorees.
-Catherine Repsher closed the book on her C-USA Freshman of the Year campaign with a career-high 16 kills.
-Four Golden Eagles (Purdue, Repsher, Joyce and Alexis Coombs) recorded double-digit kills, while five more did the same in digs (Grandy, Purdue, Rademakers, Sarah Bell and Natalie Druhan).
-Bell posted a career-high 62 assists, also her first time crossing 60.
-Bell finishes her sophomore season just 92 assists away from reaching the No. 6 spot on Southern Miss' all-time career assists mark.
-Druhan picked up three assists, her most since a Nov. 4 sweep of UAB.

Follow Southern Miss Women's Volleyball:    

  • Boardwalk
    Official App
    Seymours Sidekicks
    forrest general
    Auctions
  • Seymours Sidekicks
    Auctions
    License Plates
    Team Shop
    Team Shop