OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss volleyball team sent seniors Kellie Goss and Kara Morgan out on a high note Wednesday night. The Rebels, led by a single-match program record 61 assists from freshman setter Aubrey Edie, topped LSU 3-2 (25-23, 25-23, 20-25, 21-25, 16-14) at the Gillom Sports Center on Senior Night.
The Rebels jumped out to a two-sets-to-none lead against the visiting Tigers, and held on to win a thrilling fifth set to close out the 2013 season.
“It was a great win,” Ole Miss head coach Joe Getzin said. “We tweaked the lineup, and one of our seniors Kellie Goss, who has played an important role as a utility player all her career, came in off the bench and had one of the best nights of her career. Both of our seniors had a great last match. They held their emotions in check knowing it was their last match, and both of them did a great job.”
Goss had one of the best matches of her career Wednesday, finishing with a season-high 10 kills, two block assists and a season-high two solo blocks. Morgan had seven kills of her own to go along with a dozen digs, the second highest total on the team.
“That’s probably the best send-off I could possibly imagine,” Goss said. “It was the greatest feeling ever, and I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and coaches supporting me the whole time.”
Edie, a native of Fayetteville, Ark., shined throughout the match in her record-breaking performance. The Southeastern Conference’s freshman assists leader, Edie passed out 10 or more assists in each set, including a whopping 15 in the second set. Edie also recorded a team-high and career-high tying 16 digs for her team-high eighth double-double of the season – the second most in the SEC among rookies.
Freshman right side hitter Melanie Crow and sophomore middle blocker Nakeyta Clair each recorded 18 kills to lead the Ole Miss attack. Sophomore middle blocker Ty Laporte was close behind with 16 kills on an impressive .500 hitting percentage.
In all, four Rebels finished with double-digit kills, and five Rebels had double-digit digs.
Ole Miss came out strong in the match’s opening set, taking a 13-7 lead before LSU used it first timeout. LSU fought back to tie the match at 21 and again at 22, but the Rebels closed out the set on a 3-1 run from there to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Ole Miss doubled its lead to 2-0 in the match with another strong performance in the second set in which it hit at a .405 clip as a team. Freshmen Crow (six kills) and Edie (15 assists) led Ole Miss in the set that featured a dozen ties. After taking a 13-9 lead that prompted the Tigers to call their first timeout, Ole Miss found itself in a bit of déjà vu for remainder of the set. With the score again featuring ties at 21 and at 22, the Rebels showed their will once more by closing the set out on another 3-1 run to again win 25-23.
Following wins by LSU (17-12, 7-10 SEC) in sets three and four, Ole Miss regrouped to win a thrilling fifth set 16-14. After LSU staved off three match points to tie the set at 14 points apiece, Ole Miss scored the final two points to win in extra points, 16-14.
“We have been in that situation where we have been up 2-0 on people and we haven’t taken care of business,” Getzin said. “We were intense throughout and kept putting pressure on them.”
Ole Miss (14-17, 4-14 SEC) was led this season by Clair, who was first on the team in kills (2.64 kills per set), hitting percentage (.289) and blocks (1.14 blocks per set). Clair put together one of the best blocking seasons at Ole Miss in the rally scoring era this year. The Country Club Hills, Ill., native broke the program’s single-season record for block assists (105) and total blocks (130), and finished second in solo blocks (25).
Edie passed out 949 assists this season (9.21 per set), which is the fourth highest total in single-season history at Ole Miss during the rally scoring era, and the highest mark ever by a rookie at Ole Miss.
Morgan closes out her career with 117 matches played, including starts in all but eight of those matches. Morgan’s name can be found in the program’s career top-10 in kills, attempts, digs and service aces. Her 311 kills as a junior are the third most in Ole Miss single-season history, while her 30 service aces last season and 29 service aces this season are the first and second most, respectively, in single-season program history.
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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