HATTIESBURG, MS - After being down two sets to none, the Southern Miss volleyball team stormed back to beat Rice 3-2 on Senior Day at Reed-Green Coliseum.
"The whole year they've been able to battle and be a really gritty team," said Southern Miss head coach Amanda Berkley. "We've had a lot of really gritty teams this year and that was no difference against a very talented team."
The Golden Eagles honored seniors Makareta Rademakers, Stephany Purdue and Chanel Joyce before Sunday's match. The trio are the winningest senior class in Southern Miss history after reaching the 20-win mark for the third consecutive season.
"Makareta brings so much energy and such a positive influence to the whole team," Berkley said. "Chanel Joyce really came on strong this year, really proud of her because she has been really strong the whole season. And Stephany Purdue, I'm really proud of her for breaking the all-time kills record today…and I'm really happy for her to get it on senior day."
Purdue became USM's all-time kills leader with 1,577 during the third set of Sunday's match. The match was stopped momentarily as Purdue was presented with a golden volleyball.
"I was a little confused, I didn't know that was happening," Purdue said. "The crowd cheering was unreal. To do it on senior day and have my whole family here was the best thing I could ever ask for."
"The girl [Purdue] works harder than, I don't even know," Rademakers said. "She works so hard and earns everything she works for. I'm just so proud to be her best friend."