Big Challenge Awaits Volleyball in South Florida on Sunday
Second-place FAU has won six in a row; Southern Miss right behind at 5-2 in C-USA
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- The Southern Miss volleyball team faces one of its biggest tests of the year on Sunday, when the Golden Eagles play at second-place Florida Atlantic at 11 a.m. CT.
Florida Atlantic (11-10, 6-1 C-USA) has won all of its C-USA matches after falling to No. 25 WKU in its opener. A Southern Miss win would give it a third four-match streak of the season.
Southern Miss (16-6, 5-2 C-USA) has a chance to get back at the Owls after facing two 3-1 defeats to them last year. While the Owls have a 2-0 advantage in C-USA top-ten performers for hitting percentage, the Golden Eagles as a team are three spots higher at sixth.
Stephany Purdue also had 24 kills in the two Florida Atlantic matches last year. The senior on Friday night moved past the 1,500-kill milestone and is now 59 away from breaking the school's all-time career record (Tosha Barnicoat, 1996-99).
Purdue was not the only one doing big things on the offensive side Friday night. Kylie Grandy and Catherine Repsher each went above .500 on hitting percentage, keying a .371 offensive effort that marked the Golden Eagles' best in a league match since Nov. 1, 2013 versus East Carolina.
The Owls and Golden Eagles share a few common opponents. Both have produced sweeps of Louisiana Tech, Marshall and Middle Tennessee, but Southern Miss defeated LSU 3-1 in Baton Rouge while FAU fell by that score in an Orlando tournament. The teams have also each had the same result against Tulane.
The match will also be a battle of two of the best attackers in C-USA. Maja Ristic enters with 291 kills (3.55 per set), just behind Purdue's 3.90.