OXFORD, Miss. – Played in front of an energetic crowd at the Gillom Sports Center on Friday night, the Ole Miss volleyball team (8-3) used a balanced attack to defeat Southern Miss 3-0 (25-19, 25-19, 25-15). It was the first match of the Rebel Classic for Ole Miss.
Sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair had a dozen kills, while freshman setter Aubrey Edie passed out 36 assists. Of the seven Rebels who recorded a kill Friday night, six had at least five kills and five Rebels had at least two block assists.
“We had a good night,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We took care of business on our side of the net, and a good week of practice leads into that.”
With 606 fans in attendance, an electric atmosphere helped fuel the Rebels to the win over the Golden Eagles (9-5). After 10 ties in the first set and a pair of lead changes, Ole Miss gave up the lead again just one time for the remainder of the match.
“We keep talking about how great it is to play at Gillom and what the crowd does,” Getzin said. “It’s always great to play in front of your fans.”
Tied 13-13 in the opening set, Ole Miss found its groove and closed out the set on a 12-6 run to win 25-19 and take a 1-0 lead in the match. Sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte led the Rebels in the first set with five kills on five attempts and a solo block. Clair added four kills and three block assists of her own, and Edie passed out 13 assists in the opening frame.
After opening the second set on a 5-1 run, Ole Miss led by at least three points for the remainder of the set and won 25-19. Clair had an impressive six kills on six attempts in the second set, followed by freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow, who had five kills. Edie passed out another 15 assists in the second set and the Rebels hit at a .417 clip.
Ole Miss closed out the match with a 25-15 victory in the third set, thanks in part to a 5-1 run midway through the set, and a 6-1 run to end the set.
The Rebels will play a doubleheader Saturday against Chattanooga (11 a.m. CT) and Louisiana-Lafayette (7 p.m. CT) to close out play at the Rebel Classic.
“We just have to keep improving on our side as we get ready for SEC play,” Getzin said. “They’re two scrappy teams and two different styles of teams. It’ll be a challenge for us.”
For all Ole Miss volleyball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissVB and on Facebook at Ole Miss Volleyball.
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