Tiger Volleyball Seals No. 3 Seed with Sweep of Southern Miss
Nov. 12, 2006
HATTIESBURG, Miss. -
Memphis (25-7; 11-5 C-USA) 30 30 30 Southern Miss (15-17; 6-10 C-USA) 21 21 19
Setter Laura Côté handed out 47 assists and Ashley Liford put away a match-best 15 kills as the Memphis volleyball squad clinched a No. 3 seed and first round bye in the upcoming Conference USA Championships, with a sweep of Southern Miss on Sunday afternoon. The Tigers hit .382 in the match and held the Golden Eagles to a .097 clip.
With the score tied at 7-7, Memphis scored a 4-0 run to gain control of the contest. The Tigers maintained the four-point cushion until Liford jumpstarted a three-point push to make it 17-11 just more than midway through. The lead was extended to 10 points three times, with the last coming at 27-17 after Sarah Bury downed her third kill of the afternoon. Côté had 15 assists in the opening frame and set the Tigers hitters to a .467 attacking clip.
Game two finished with an identical score, but proved to more of a struggle for the Tigers despite holding USM to -.097 hitting. Memphis looked to have early control after a Liford kills made it 7-3. However, the Golden Eagles doubled the Tigers over the next 12 rallies to knot the score at 11-11. The two teams fought through three ties before Memphis grabbed momentum on the strength of an 8-0 push. Liford had three kills in the rally as the Tigers surged ahead 23-15.
Memphis dominated the final set of the day, jumping out to a 7-1 lead and never allowing Southern Miss to threaten. A service ace by Côté capped a 7-2 rally as the U of M increased its lead to 22-15 late in the game. Memphis wrapped up the match by scoring on eight of the final 12 serves. The Tigers hit .405 in game three
Liford, who had 12 kills through the first two games, finished the match with a .464 average. Sarah Bury reached double figures in kills with 10 and a .391 clip. Shelby Burton had nine kills and Colette Ramirez, who hit .429, downed eight. Burton added four of Memphis' 10 service aces.
Defensively, Christen Clayton led Memphis with 13 digs. She was the lone Tiger to reach the 10-dig plateau. Memphis outblocked USM 9.0-1.0, led by Burton's match-high six blocks. With her six rejects, Burton claims sole possession of second place on the Tigers' all-time single-season blocks list. The junior has posted the most blocks in a single season since 1990 and is now seventh all-time at Memphis in blocks with 295.
Southern Miss was led by Mari Ruddick's 10 kills. Nicole Rock downed nine and hit .412. Ruddick completed a double-double outing with a match-best 14 digs.
Memphis will play the winner of the ECU-UTEP match in the second round of the C-USA Championships on Fri., Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. The league's tournament will be hosted by the University of Houston Nov. 16-19.