The Southern Miss volleyball team looks to finish the season strong before the Conference USA tournament.

This year, the Lady Eagles will host the tournament, something second year head coach, Amanda Berkley is proud of. However, she places a higher value on winning.

“It’s a step in the right direction, we have to continue to play hard and get better each week and each match,” Berkley said. ” It is very important to play the best at the end of the season.”

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Senior player, Alex Pfefferle, said hosting the tournament provides a new experience for the team.

” We’ve never done it before and we have the opportunity to host the tournament,” Pfefferle stated. ” We don’t have to worry about missing school and we don’t have to worry about those other factors that normally kick in around conference time.”

Pfefferle all said the team would be 100 percent focused with no distractions and have a home court advantage.

Currently, the Lady Eagles rank fourth in conference play. Junior Quinci Hayward said Coach Berkley continues to stress discipline in preparation for the tournament.

” She is really hard on us in practice and really hard on our off days, making sure that we are disciplined on the court and outside the court,” Hayward said. ” Like, if are grades aren’t right, it reflects our team, you have to be punished for that, so that everything runs smoothly, so when we get to the conference tournament, we’ll be used to being disciplined and doing things correctly.”

Hayward also believed hosting the tournament shed light on the sport to young, female athletes in Mississippi.

” Volleyball isn’t really big in the South, especially in Mississippi, so with it being hosted here, it opens up a revenue for young girls to see that volleyball is here and you can get an education while playing it.”

The conference tournament begins Friday, Nov. 21 in Reed Green Coliseum. Only eight of the 12 teams will participate in the tournament.

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