HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Southern Miss volleyball team is set to open the 2013 season, hosting its own Southern Miss Invitational, Aug. 30-31, in Reed Green Coliseum that include Jackson State, Stephen F. Austin and Troy.
First serve is set for 3 p.m. with Troy against Stephen F. Austin followed Southern Miss and Jackson State at 7 p.m.
Head Coach Amanda Berkley enters her first season at the helm as she returns 11 letterwinners led by a junior class of Jasmine Crowell, Alex Pfefferle, Kristen Fleming and Katie Steelman. Southern Miss looks to improve on an 8-20 performance last season as the Golden Eagles return 73 percent of their offense, 88 percent of their blocking and 56 percent of their digs. Crowell led the team in kills last season with 317 while Pfefferle collected 266 digs. Fleming guided the offense as she averaged 10.19 assists per set. Also returning are sophomores Lydia Bonner, Quinci Hayward and Rachel Johnson. The trio ranked among the top six players on the team in kills.
Southern Miss opens with Jackson State with first serve at 7 p.m. on Aug. 30. Jackson State is coming off a 24-12 season and returns eight letterwinners including four starters. Head Rose Washington is in her 12th season. JSU returns its top block leader in Paige Williams (1.17 blocks per set) and top dig leader Angelica Kelley (3.33 digs per set). Also returning is setter Jenna Siddiqui (10.29 sets per set).
The Golden Eagles will face Troy at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Troy is coming off a 21-12 record as Head Coach Sonny Kirkpatrick enters his eighth season. The Trojans return eight letterwinners and three starters. Blair Winston is the top returning kill leader with 356 kills average while Courtney Cohen is tops in digs with 563. Alexandra Alexander is back to guide the offense after averaging 9.96 assists per set.
Southern Miss will conclude with a matchup against Stephen F. Austin at 3:30 p.m. SFA finished the 2012 season with a 22-12 record. Head Coach Debbie Humphreys enters her 26th season at the helm and returns nine letterwinners. Jill Ivy is the top kill leader with a 3.03 per set average while Paige Holland returns to guide the offense after averaging 9.00 assists per set last season.
Series Notes for the Field:
This is the 31st meeting between Southern Miss and Jackson State in a series dating back to the 1979 season ... Southern Miss leads the series 20-10 ... This is only the ninth meeting between Southern Miss and Troy ... The series is tied at 4-4 dating back to 1982 ... This is the ninth meeting between USM and Stephen F. Austin ... SFA leads the series 5-3, dating back to 1988.