Volleyball Sweeps USC Upstate to Push Streak to Seven
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont (13-6, 4-0) pushed its win streak to seven straight matches with a sweep of USC Upstate (4-11, 0-3) on Saturday. The Bruins have now won 11 of their last 12 matches and are undefeated in conference play. Belmont bounced back after a somewhat sluggish performance yesterday to hit .370 as a team and win in straight sets for the eight time this season.
"We did a good job of moving our attackers around," said Head Coach Deane Webb. "We didn't just settle for the same set over and over and that allows our hitters to get better looks when we're hitting at the net and we were able to do that today."
Belmont got 17 kills from senior Maggie Johnson (Naperville, Ill.), while sophomore Jen Myer (New Braunfels, Texas) turned in an impressive all-around performance with 13 kills and 19 digs, while committing only one hitting error to hit .632 on the day.
"Great all-around match (for Jen)," Webb said. "We know she has that potential. Right now we're making sure we get the right tempo on the set to her. She and Hannah are working on getting that figured out and getting it at the level we need it to be. When they're connecting at a high level, she can have this level of success. She's a very, very dynamic player and we know she has a great future ahead of her."
Myer, the nation's top server, also had two aces. The Bruins got six straight service aces from freshman Scarlet Gable (Munford, Tenn.), all in set three, as Belmont took the set by an overwhelming 25-7. The Bruins were dominant throughout the match, winning set one 25-19 and set two 25-14 before running away with the third set.
"I think we did a good job serving today throughout the match," Webb said. "I think the other team was out of system a good part of the match. If we do that, then we're successful. Aces are a by-product of successful and aggressive serving. It doesn't have to happen for us to feel good about our serve. Today we did have a high number of aces, and Scarlet there at the end…I'm not sure in 15 years that I've ever seen six aces in a row. I've seen kids stand back there and get a bunch in a row and then get a few rallies and then get a couple more. I don't think I've ever seen it where every ball was an ace. That was just tremendous focus by Scarlet to close out the match."
Myer led the Bruins with her 19 digs while libero Jamie Lundstrom (La Grange, Ill.) added 13. Belmont also had strong performances from its freshman class, as Alex Martin (Ooletwah, Tenn.), Kelsi Dean (Marietta, Ga.) and Kristen Clark (Reedley, Calif.) all saw action today. The win gave the Bruins their 11th victory in the past 12 matches, with only a loss against Evansville marring a double-digit win streak. Belmont has won seven straight matches, including all four conference tilts.
"I don't really put a lot of stock or a lot of thought behind how many we've won in a row or how many on the road or how many at home," Webb said. "We're just concerned with getting better every day. We want to get better in serve receive and serving, which are two of our strengths but can always get better. We're doing a better job this year defensively in the back row, but we want to continue to get better with our attacking and our blocking. As long as we're doing that every day, the results will take care of themselves."
Belmont meets Lipscomb next Thursday in Allen Arena for the first Battle of the Boulevard. The rivalry match will be critical in conference standings, as both teams will meet undefeated in conference play.
"It's an important match," Webb said. "Every match in conference is important. Our goal is to be the best team in the conference and we can never take any opponent too lightly, never get too caught up with who it is. It's just important to go out and work to get the win so that we can get deeper into the postseason later in the year."