Belmont and Lipscomb Meet in Battle of the Boulevard Final
NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- It will be Battle of the Boulevard, Championship Edition, when top seeded Belmont (21-8, 11-2 A-Sun) meets number two seeded Lipscomb in Allen Arena for the 2011 Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship. The match will begin at 3 p.m. this afternoon and will be broadcast free of charge at ASun.TV.
The two teams won last night to advance to today's final and the fifth meeting between the two schools in the last five years in postseason play. The final appearance will be the fourth for Belmont, who won in 2006 and 2008, and the fifth straight for Lipscomb. The Lady Bisons have won the last two championships. Either Lipscomb or Belmont has won each of the last five Atlantic Sun titles. This season, the two teams split the regular season championship after splitting the regular season rivarly series. Both teams won the match up on their home floor. Lipscomb won in five sets in Allen Arena while Belmont won in four sets in the Curb Event Center.
Lipscomb won with ease, advancing after a straight set sweep of No. 3 seed Florida Gulf Coast. Belmont needed five sets to escape No. 5 ETSU. The Bruins won the first set, 27-25, before dropping the next two sets 18-25, 23-25. Belmont turned things around in the fourth set, dominating 25-13 before carrying that momentum into a 15-8 win in set five to claim the match.
Belmont and Lipscomb have been one and two in the standings and statistical rankings throughout much of the season. The two teams met as undefeated conference opponents in early October, when Lipscomb took the five set win to move a game ahead of Belmont in the conference standings. Belmont suffered a loss to FGCU later in the month to drop two games back of Lipscomb, but turned around and beat the Lady Bisons in the Curb Event Center early the next week to get one game back and split the season series with Lipscomb. The Lady Bisons fell on the road at ETSU during the last weekend of conference play, which opened the door for Belmont to clinch the top seed and a share of the regular season title with a win over ETSU the next day. The Bruins did just that, sweeping the Bucs and the season series with ETSU.
Both teams dominated the postseason awards, combining to win five of the seven spots on the All-Conference First Team. Lipscomb's Katie Rose and Belmont's Maggie Johnson shared Co-Player of the Year honors. Belmont placed three players on the first team while Lipscomb had two. The two schools were the only schools to put multiple players on the first team. Belmont's Hannah Miranda and Jamie Lundstrom joined Johnson on the first team. Lundstrom was also named Libero of the Year by conference coaches.
In what will be Belmont's final appearance in the Atlantic Sun volleyball final as the school exits the conference next season, the match should be a close and entertaining one based on the previous matches between the two schools this season. The winner earns the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament and extends their season. Both teams are reliant on underclassmen, with each having only three seniors, meaning the match will also provide a glimpse of the future of rivalry. Action gets underway at 3 p.m. in Lipscomb's Allen Arena. The match will be broadcast on ASun.TV, while live stats, video links, schedule information and full game recaps are available at www.belmontbruins.com.