Golden Eagles set for Sunday showdown at Rice
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- Fresh off a sweep at UAB, the Southern Miss volleyball team now sets its eyes on a pivotal C-USA road matchup with Rice, Sunday at 1 p.m. The action will also air on beIN Connect.
Rice (19-7, 9-3 C-USA) sits in sole possession of third place, while the Golden Eagles (17-10, 7-4 C-USA) rank fifth.
The last two head-to-head matches have been memorable for one team or another. Southern Miss was victorious against the Owls on Senior Day, rallying from an 0-2 deficit with 32-30 and 15-13 wins in the third and fifth sets. Stephany Purdue became the school's all-time kills leader and Sarah Bell had one of her 21 career 50-plus assist outings.
Southern Miss (17-10, 7-4 C-USA) made yet another 0-2 comeback against Rice in the C-USA semifinals before falling in the fifth set. Bell, who went on to take All-Tournament honors, had a then-career high 62 assists and Catherine Repsher and Alexis Coombs posted 16 and 12 kills, respectively.
In Friday night play, the Golden Eagles rallied from a 19-14 second-set deficit to key the sweep. They also held their opponent to a sub-.200 hitting percentage for the sixth time in seven matches. Kylie Grandy, who has been held to single-digit kills just twice all season, had 13 to go along with four aces, both match-highs.
The Golden Eagles also had their highest hitting percentage since a torrid .458 mark against UTEP on Oct. 16.
Rice boasts one of the league's best defenses in multiple ways. The Owls have the second-best opponent hitting percentage (.177) and blocks mark (3.08/set). They also average a conference-high 16.24 digs/set.