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Barnicoat soars as top Eagle

It's been a good year for Tosha Barnicoat and it keeps getting better.

Southern Mississippi's junior outside hitter has twice been named Conference USA player of the week and has passed the 1,000 mark for both career kills and digs.

Last week, the 1996 North Medford graduate turned it up a notch in leading the Eagles past Mississippi State, Cincinnati and No. 20 Louisville. Barnicoat hammered 71 kills (5.071 per game), added 77 digs (5.5 per game) and notched her career-first 30-30 effort with 31 kills and 33 digs against Cincinnati on Friday.

After back-to-back 33-dig matches, she came up with 22 kills in a win over Louisville.

The news off the court was trumpeted by Southern Mississippi's publicity folks as well.

Part of Barnicoat's big week could be attributed to her engagement to Frank Firestone, a member of the Golden Eagle football team and one of the best centers in Conference USA. The pair got engaged (Oct. 19) and look to be married sometime after Tosha graduates.

Prior to tonight's match against Arkansas in Fayetteville, Barnicoat ranked No. 2 on the USM career attempt chart with 3,499. Senior Shalini Job is No. — with 3,877. Barnicoat is No. — in kills with 1,262 and No. 4 in digs with 1,223. She could well finish as the career leader in all three categories.

Barnicoat recorded 17 double-doubles in USM's first 19 matches, and is on track to graduate in December 1999 with a degree in human performance and a minor in food and nutrition.