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Volleyball Readies for Rematch with Rice and Houston

SJ Bowden

Nov. 17, 2011

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss volleyball team begins a three-match homestand to close out the regular season when the Golden Eagles host Conference USA foes Rice, Houston and Tulane on Nov. 18, 20 and 22, respectively.

The Golden Eagles meet the Owls at 7 p.m. in Reed Green Coliseum followed by a matchup with the Cougars on Sunday at 1 p.m., and close out the season against the Green Wave on Tuesday.

Live stats and video will be available for all three matches via a link at

Golden Eagle Preview
Southern Miss enters the weekend with a 15-14 record overall and 9-8 in C-USA play following a pair of road wins at UAB and Memphis last weekend.

Ashley Mell paces the team offensively with 324 kills for a 3.45 per set averaged followed closely behind by Halie Ecker (2.75 kps), Lauren Sears (2.35 kps), Amelia Hendrickson (2.22 kps) and Sarah Jane Bowden (2.01 kps). Kelsea Seymour directs the offense at 11.21 assists per set, while Lisa Knecht has a team-leading 5.01 digs per set average. Sears also leads the team with 100 total blocks and 26 aces while Bowden is next in blocking with 93 total blocks. As a team, Southern Miss is averaging 13.58 kills per set while averaging 0.77 aces per set, 18.69 digs per set and 2.19 blocks per set.

Scouting the Owls Rice is 16-12 and 11-6 in league play after a split last weekend against Tulsa and SMU. Nancy Cole leads the Owls in kills with 335 (3.22 kps) followed by Laurie McNamara with 263 (2.53 kps). Megan Murphy guides the offense as she has dished out 10.81 assists per set. Megan White tops the defense with 4.31 digs per set. In blocking, Jillian Humphrey and Cole are averaging 1.14 and 1.01 blocks per set, respectively. As a team, Rice is hitting .237 with 13.69 kills per set, .77 service aces per set, 16.58 digs per set and 2.34 blocks per set.

The Series: Southern Miss vs. Rice
The Owls are 8-3 all-time against the Golden Eagles. The two squads first met on Oct. 19, 1991 with Rice winning 3-1 (15-3, 15-9, 3-15, 15-12). Earlier this season, Rice topped the Golden Eagles 3-2 (20-25, 26-24, 19-25, 25-18, 15-8) on Sept. 25.

Scouting the Houston
Houston currently sits at 17-10 on the season after two losses last weekend against SMU and Tulsa. The Houston uses a balanced offensive attack as four players have recorded over 200 kills. Lucy Charuk leads the group, averaging 3.19 kills per set. Closely behind are Katie Norris, Stephanie Nwachukwu and Chandace Tryon at 2.99 kps, 2.35 kps and 2.21 kps, respectively. Caitlin Ogletree runs the offense and is averaging 10.75 assists per set, while Natalie Keck paces the team with 4.28 digs per set. As a team, Houston is hitting .238 with 13.14 kills per set, 1.04 aces per set, 14.31 digs per set and 2.35 blocks per set.

The Series: Southern Miss vs. Houston Sothern Miss trails the series against Houston 19-5 in a series that dates back to 1997. Houston won the first meeting on Oct. 3, 1992 3-0 (15-6, 15-0, 15-5). The Golden Eagles lost to Houston in their conference opener 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 25-11, 18-25, 15-13) on Sept. 23.

What's Next?
Southern Miss concludes the regular season at home when the Eagles host Tulane on Nov. 22. First serve is set for 7 p.m.

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