HATTIESBURG, Miss. -- It will be a short week for the Southern Miss volleyball team as it sets out for a Thursday 7 p.m. contest at Louisiana Tech, followed by the finale at FIU on Saturday at noon CT.
The Golden Eagles (20-7, 9-3 C-USA) look to get as high as a No. 2 seed in the upcoming league championships (Nov. 18-20 in Houston), currently tied for that spot with UTSA and Marshall. Southern Miss has won its last four contests and six of the last seven.
The squad is coming off one of the more emotional and historically-significant wins of its recent history. Facing a 2-0 deficit to a formidable Rice team, Southern Miss won the third set 32-30 that also saw Stephany Purdue become the school's all-time career kills record-holder (now at 1,577). The Golden Eagles took care of the fourth set before exchanging blows with the Owls for an eventual 15-13 win in the final round.
The senior class of Purdue, Chanel Joyce and Makareta Rademakers, who were all honored prior to the Sunday's Rice match, became the all-time winningest class in program history just two hours later. Southern Miss has also posted three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time in its history.
As far as a season scale is concerned, Sarah Bell maintains the No. 13 spot nationally in assists per set after another 1,000-plus season. She is just 15 away from passing Beth Keck for the No. 8 spot on Southern Miss' career list. Her top spot in C-USA matches only is accompanied by Purdue in kills (fifth, 3.69/set), Catherine Repsher in blocks (fifth, 1.05), Grandy in service aces (third, 0.43), and Natalie Druhan for digs (seventh, 3.93).
Southern Miss is looking for a 10th consecutive win over Louisiana Tech. The previous meeting was a sweep of the Lady Techsters on Oct. 14, led by Purdue (12 kills, 10 digs) and Kylie Grandy (11 kills, nine digs).
Louisiana Tech (13-16, 4-9 C-USA) had won three straight matches, including against UTSA, before falling to North Texas its last time out.
FIU (8-18, 2-10 C-USA) is the least-familiar team historically for Southern Miss among league opponents, having only played each other five times. The 2015 meeting was incredibly big for the Golden Eagles, which lost 25-11 in the third set and came back to win the next two. Grandy had a career-high 19 kills in that one. Prior to the last three battles within conference play, the only other contests were tournaments in 1979 and 1990.
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