Southern Miss Opens C-USA Play with Two Matches in Texas
Stout opposition welcomes the squad in the Lone Star State
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- The Golden Eagle volleyball team has set out for its first Conference USA weekend of the season. Southern Miss will play at North Texas Friday night at 7 p.m. before heading south to face UTSA at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Southern Miss (11-4) is coming off a 2-1 weekend at the Arkansas Invitational in Fayetteville. It began with a 3-1 victory over the Razorbacks, followed by a nightcap sweep of UMKC on Friday. Next came No. 25 Kansas State on Saturday morning. A 25-23 defeat in the first set was a tough one to swallow, and the Golden Eagles' comeback attempt fell just short in a 3-1 defeat.
Chanel Joyce was a key figure in the opening win over Arkansas, producing a career-high 12 kills. The team is actually 6-1 this year when she records nine or more.
The Golden Eagles' success to this point has been paved by several contributors. Five different members of the squad are currently in the league's top-10 in some way. Stephany Purdue's 3.96 kills per set rank third, and Sarah Bell's 10.89 assists/set is second in the league (her 577 on the year is No. 6 nationally).
Freshman Catherine Repsher, who just earned the C-USA Freshman of the Week award for the second time in the early season, has set the league standard with 1.28 blocks/set. Kylie Grandy is fourth with 0.40 service aces a set, and Natalie Druhan ranks ninth for digs (3.91/set).
North Texas (6-9) most recently fell 3-1 at Baylor on Tuesday. The Mean Green has also hosted two tournaments for eight total home matches on the year, defeating Nevada, UL Lafayette, UT Arlington and Little Rock among others. The team has two big threats on attacks and setting, with Alexis Wright and Aman Chamberlain separated by just four total kills. Amy Henard and Karley York are also just 0.25 assists/set apart. The all-time series is tied at four.
UTSA (9-3) has been receiving votes in the national poll, and for good reason. The Roadrunners have swept Texas Tech while also defeating Oklahoma, SMU and Wichita State. UTSA is second in hitting percentage and leading the league in service aces. Dajana Boskovic is No. 6 in the country with 5.07 kills per set.
Purdue (15 kills) and Grandy (11) were the top Southern Miss performers in the Nov. 12, 2015 regular-season finale against UTSA.
Live stats will be available for all matches, and UTSA will also produce live radio streaming on its web site (video for subscribers).