SportsSouthern Miss Volleyball jumps to 4-0 start after Southern...

Southern Miss Volleyball jumps to 4-0 start after Southern Miss Classic


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Southern Miss Volleyball hosted and won all four of its matches against Mississippi Valley State University, Southern Illinois University, University of South Carolina Upstate, and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the annual Southern Miss Classic.

After the weekend, the Golden Eagles boast a 4-0 record for the first time since 2015.

“It was a great tournament, it was great for our program and team with the strong competition here,” Southern Miss Head Coach Stephanie Radecki said. “Our players did a nice job of staying level-headed.”

Post-game interviews with Radecki and Aliah Giroux: By Austin Lindsey

In the first match of the season, Southern Miss won easily in a 3-0 rout of Mississippi Valley State University. The Golden Eagles had a total of 43 kills on 99 attacks and struck 13 aces in the match. Junior outside hitter Liana Guillemaud lead the way with 12 kills on 24 attacks.

On Friday against Southern Illinois, the Golden Eagles 1-0 record was put at stake after dropping the first set 25-22.

However, Southern Miss swept the remaining sets against the Salukis of Southern Illinois. Duquesne Moratzka had a stellar match with 11 kills and six blocks on a .312 hitting percentage. The Golden Eagles ended the match on a kill by Sophomore Mia Wesley (13 kills on 50 attacks). Wesley went on to lead the Golden Eagles in the tournament with 52 kills and seven blocks.

On the defensive end, the Golden Eagles would tally 13 blocks and 81 digs led by 26 from Aliah Giroux.

“It was a team effort,” Giroux said. “It wasn’t just me and it took a lot of grit and grind to finish it out strong.”

Photos by: Charlie Luttrell and Mariah Reed

On Saturday, Southern Miss first faced the University of South Carolina Upstate. The Eagles would win the match 3-0 and move to 3-0 as the Golden Eagles. Wesley, Moratzka and freshman Cara Atkinson accounted for 33 of the Golden Eagles’ 51 kills.

The last game of the tournament versus Louisiana at Lafayette for the Eagles was must-see action, as the Eagles prevailed 3-2. The energy was unmatched as it came down to a deciding fifth set. The Golden Eagles won the fifth set 15-9 after scoring four consecutive points.

“We were on a mission, we were like ‘we’re not losing this, this is our set,” Giroux said. “We even said, on the bench, we’re not going out sad after coming this far. It’s a huge win for us being it is the first four games and we just weren’t going to go down like that.”

As a team, the Golden Eagles had 63 kills to the Ragin’ Cajuns 61. Wesley lead Southern Miss in kills again with 21 kills, 15 digs and four blocks. Redshirt junior setter Kenzie Smith broke her previous career-high of 49 assists against Southeastern Louisiana last year with 50 and 11 digs.

While the incoming Hurricane Ida will slow down the team’s work schedule, Radecki said the team looks to get back to working as soon as it can.

“We’re looking forward to hopefully not getting too much rain and damage from this hurricane (Hurricane Ida) that is the goal right now,” Radecki said. “The main goal is to get back in the gym next week and get better every day.”

Southern Miss Volleyball will return to action Sep. 3 in the Crimson Tide Invitational, with games against Buffalo, Troy and a match on Sep. 4 against Alabama.

The Golden Eagles hold a 3-3 all-time record against Alabama, including a win against the Crimson Tide in the 2015 season, when the team last started 4-0.

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