HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Fans looking to catch the Southern Miss volleyball team before season's end will have their first of many immediate opportunities this Friday night, when Charlotte comes in for a 6 p.m. match.
The Golden Eagles (16-7, 5-3 C-USA) have four consecutive home matches from Oct. 28 to Nov. 6, their busiest Hattiesburg stretch since also having four from Oct. 4-13, 2013.
There is also a lot to be said about history possibly being made in the future. Stephany Purdue, averaging 3.87 kills per set (third overall in C-USA), needs just 45 to reach Tosha Barnicoat's all-time career record (1,566 from 1996-99).
Sarah Bell has also continued to rise the ranks nationally, now No. 12 for assists (12.19/set). That is also tops in C-USA for league matches-only. Catherine Repsher has also continued her amazing run with a fourth consecutive C-USA Freshman of the Week honor.
As a team, the Golden Eagles rank second in C-USA for hitting percentage (.251), helped by a .371 performance last Friday night at Middle Tennessee (best in a league match since Nov. 1, 2013 versus East Carolina). Much of the credit goes to Chanel Joyce, who had a career-high 16 kills at Florida Atlantic on Sunday afternoon, her third time in five outings collecting a career-high (14 back-to-back against WKU and UTEP).
Southern Miss has won four of the last five in the head-to-head series (12-9 overall), catching two 3-2 victories last season. The last decision saw defense pave the way, as the 49ers were held to a .105 hitting percentage. The Golden Eagles really had to be on their toes in the first 2015 meeting, winning 17-15 in the fifth set behind 23 Purdue kills.
Charlotte (7-17, 1-7 C-USA) has lost three in a row, with its last victory coming in a 3-0 home sweep of FIU. The 49ers also lead C-USA in two defensive categories: blocks (2.77 per set) and digs (15.94 per set).
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