HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team will leave town for the first time this season when it takes on Virginia (12 p.m.) and UConn (5:30 p.m.) on Friday and LSU (1 p.m.) on Saturday at the 2016 Tiger Classic.
"We are excited to get back and playing again this weekend," head coach Amanda Berkley said. "I'm excited to play some really tough competition from the SEC, ACC and American that will prepare us for the conference season. We get to see where our team stands. I think we learned from last weekend that we can't take points off and we have to always be ready."
The Golden Eagles (3-1) rank second in Conference USA for service aces with 2.2 per set, including 11 against Tulane and Grambling in the Southern Miss Invitational. Their last time out was a 3-0 win over Southern, which included new marks for attack efficiency.
Stephany Purdue (.583 hitting percentage on 12 attempts) and Kylie Grandy's (12 att., .611 pct.) marked the fifth time in seven matches that a Golden Eagle accomplished the feat (at least 10 att., .500 or better). Catherine Repsher also did so against Tulane and McNeese State and earned league Freshman of the Week honors for those efforts.
Repsher ranks first in C-USA hitting percentage (.528) and second in blocks (1.62 per set). Sarah Bell (11.77 per set) is second in assists.
Grandy against the Jaguars also recorded a service ace for the seventh consecutive match and led the team with 12 kills.
Live stats will be available via the tournament web site and updates will also be posted on Twitter (@SouthernMissVB).
About the Opponents
Southern Miss has not played LSU since 2000 and is looking for its first win in the all-time series (sixth match). The Golden Eagles have never faced Virginia or UConn.
Virginia (2-1) swept Buffalo and George Washington during its season-opening Fairfield Inn & Suites Cavalier Classic, but fell 3-1 to Northwestern in the final match. The squad's attack is led by Haley Kole, a senior who is also a member of the school's 1,000-kill club. Freshman Kylie Banker has been the team's top blocker, totaling 12 in nine sets.
UConn has just two matches under its belt, defeating Syracuse and Colgate 3-1. Jade Strawberry, daughter of nine-time MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry, leads the Huskies with 3.88 kills per set. They have a diverse setter attack in Emma Turner (62) and Rebecca Rivera (47) pacing the team.
LSU (2-1) was just in North Carolina for the Duke Invitational, where it knocked off Eastern Kentucky and UNC Greensboro before falling 3-0 to the host. Anna Zwiebel's 108 assists leads the club, and Gina Tillis boasts the same honor in kills (37). Head coach Fran Flory has taken the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament eight times in her 19 years.
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