Volleyball Closes Out Conference Season With Road Swing
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont (18-8, 8-2 A-Sun) hits the road this weekend to wrap up the conference season at USC Upstate (9-18, 2-9 A-Sun) and ETSU (13-14, 6-5 A-Sun). The Bruins will look to pick up two more wins and lock in at least a number two seed in the conference tournament next weekend. Two more wins would also give Belmont 20 wins for the first time since 2008, which was also the last time the Bruins won the Atlantic Sun Conference and qualified for the NCAA tournament. While Belmont will take the weekend one game at a time, reaching 20 wins in the regular season would certainly be a great ending to what has been an impressive campaign for the Bruins who finished last season 14-15. Belmont had five straight 20-win seasons from 2004-2008.
The Bruins will look to close out the conference season the same way they began it: by picking up to crucial conference wins on the road. Belmont traveled to Kennesaw State and Mercer to open the 2011 conference season and picked up two wins. Currently the Bruins hold a 4-1 record on the road in conference play with the lone loss coming in a five set battle with Lipscomb. Belmont is a perfect 7-0 against USC Upstate all-time, including a 4-0 record against the Spartans in Spartanburg. The Bruins have had less success at ETSU, winning only once in Johnson City in four tries. Belmont lost in five sets at ETSU last season, but beat the Buccanneers in four sets earlier this season in the Curb Event Center. The Bruins took this season's first match against Upstate in straight sets. Senior Maggie Johnson, the conference leader in killsand points, continues to pace the Bruins, and last weekend set a new school record for career attacks.
USC Upstate currently sits in last place in the conference standings, but last weekend, Belmont Head Coach Deane Webb cautioned against overlooking the Spartans, who have taken their fair share of games off teams in the top half of the conference. The Bruins will look to avoid a trap game on the road at Upstate, playing the Spartans on Friday before taking on ETSU in a critical conference match on Saturday. With the Spartans playing in their final two games of the season, Upstate, unlike Belmont, has nothing to lose and everything to gain, making the Spartans a dangerous opponent.
The Buccanneers are currently fifth in the conference standings and with at least one win this weekend, could sure up their bid to the conference tournament next week and possibly move up in seeding. ETSU has won its last two matches, including a five set win over Kennesaw State. The Bucs boast some of the league's best young talent, including sophomore Megan Devine, who is third in the conference in points. ETSU is also the top blocking team in the conference and will provide a defensive challenge for the Bruins when the two teams meet on Saturday.
The Bruins will face USC Upstate at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and will take on ETSU at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. Live stats and other links are available at www.belmontbruins.com. Full recaps and all schedule information are also available at www.belmontbruins.com. Belmont will return to Nashville for the 2011 Atlantic Sun Conference tournament hosted by Lipscomb from Nov. 18-20th. The exact day and time for Belmont's games are still TBD, but all tournament information will be available online once the schedule has been set. Matches in the 2011 tournament will be played in Allen Arena on Lipscomb's campus and broadcast online at ASun.TV.