Volleyball's Late Rally Against FGCU Falls Just Short
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - Belmont (15-8, 6-2 A-Sun) lost to Florida Gulf Coast University (13-8, 7-1 A-Sun) in dramatic fashion, falling 3-2 Friday night at the Curb Event Center. After dropping the first two sets the Bruins rallied to capture the third and fourth before the Eagles won the final 18-16.
"Tonight was a great learning experience for our team," Head Coach Deane Webb said. "Hopefully we can learn to expect to enjoy pressure. If we expect a tight match and can learn how to cope with it we'll be fine."
FGCU won the first game 25-23 after switching leads three times and trailing for most of the second part of the set. Belmont took a 10-5 lead to start the second set – marking the largest point differential for the Bruins all night – before the Eagles went on a run to take a 15-14 lead before closing out the game 25-22.
"I believe when the match started we weren't emotionally in a great place," said Webb. "I don't know if we were mentally ready to play and we need to do a better job of getting prepared. We had too many unforced errors early in the match."
Momentum shifted in the third when Belmont closed out the game on a 9-2 run to win 25-21. Trailing 19-16, Jen Myer recorded a kill and followed it up by acing a serve to pull within one. After the teams traded points and the game was tied at 21, FGCU's Jessica Barnes committed an attack error and Belmont never looked back, heading into the fourth set with high energy.
The fourth game saw 11 ties and four lead changes before the Bruins won 30-28 to force a five-set match. After Belmont scored the first point on a Jen Myer kill, FGCU rolled off five straight before the game was tied at nine. Maggie Johnson recorded an error and the Bruins held the lead until the Eagles rallied to tie it at 20. From that point, the teams tied it up nine different times and forced extra points where Maggie Johnson had another kill to get to the 29th point and Hannah Miranda closed it out with an ace.
"We were so excited after the third game," sophomore Jen Myer said. "We just wanted to keep fighting and give it our best for the fourth set and I think we did that. Our energy was high and getting that fourth set gave us confidence."
The final set came down to extra points after Belmont scored three unanswered to tie it at 14. The Bruins had a shot after taking a 15-14 lead but FGCU's Jill Hopper had a kill to tie it up. Hopper got the 17th point on another kill before Jelena Simic closed the game out.
This marked the first five-set match for Belmont at home this season and it was only the fourth of the season. The Bruins are now even at 2-2 in five-set matches this season.
Johnson had a team-high 25 kills and recorded 20 digs while Jamie Lundstrom led the team in that category with 30. As a team, Belmont out-hit FGCU .174 to .123, but had 34 errors and 18 service errors.
The Bruins will return to the Curb Event Center tomorrow afternoon to take on Stetson at 2:00 p.m.