HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team begins its spring season this Friday at the University of New Orleans. The Golden Eagles have been well-underway with individual drills and conditioning and are looking to commence its transition to the 2017 season in the best way possible.
Other single-day exhibition events include tournaments at Southeastern Louisiana (April 1) and South Alabama (April 15).
Natalie Druhan and Kelsey Chambers will make up the senior class. Druhan as a junior held her best season yet, producing 4.29 digs per set in Conference USA play (fifth in the league) to help Southern Miss to a second-place regular-season finish in C-USA. Other lineup mainstays returning in the fall include Sarah Bell, one of the top-10 assist-leaders in the country as a sophomore in 2016. Kylie Grandy, Alexis Coombs and Catherine Repsher, the program's first-ever league Freshman of the Year.
Grandy, now a junior, finished second on the team in kills behind all-time school record-holder Stephany Purdue each of her first two seasons and Coombs started all 31 matches at the net as an outside hitter/middle blocker.
"The team is working really hard right now in the weight room with [strength coaches] Mike Chatman and Bridget Keller," head coach Amanda Berkley said."We've seen them make some strides so far this spring. We are excited to get started with team practice and see where we are at. I think it'll be good to get some new people in the lineup and some experience playing-wise."
Druhan also takes on the unique new challenge of being the oldest person on the team for the first time since high school.
"I remember when I came in as a freshman and thinking about how Kelsey [Chambers] and I would be the only seniors," she said. "I always thought about it but now that it's already here and without three seniors that were part of our team, we will have to get used to it. We will rearrange our chemistry a little bit, and I'm excited for it. I think it'll be good."
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