LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The Belmont University Volleyball team may have left it all on the floor in their first match of the day as it pushed through a sluggish showing in its second duel of the day at the Kansas Invitational. The Bruins (5-5) could not find an offensive rhythm to take on its second nationally ranked opponent of the day in No. 9 Creighton (6-2), falling 3-0.
A furious back and forth battle marked the beginning of the duel between the programs but it would be short lived. The Bluejays put together a 5-0 run to go up 11-6 and force the Belmont bench to call a timeout. The break in the action did not assist the Bruins in finding a much needed offensive rhythm to keep them in the game. BU fell behind by double digits for the first time on day one of the Kansas Tournament as Creighton went up, 18-8. The Bruins would only be able to squeeze out two more points as the Bluejays took the frame, 25-10.
The Bruins still appeared out of rhythm going into the second set. Creighton rolled off an 8-1 run to take a 12-5 lead early in the frame and Belmont called a much needed timeout. The Bluejays kept piling on the points and blew their lead up to double digits as in the previous set. The out-of-sorts Bruins even changed floor personnel but could not find a cohesive attacking rhythm to get them back in the game. CU closed the set with a 4-0 run to take the set, 25-10.
BU came out with more energy in the third stanza, keeping the score differential to within two points early. Another personnel change helped light the Belmont flame higher and soon it became a one-point set, 6-5. The Bruins continued to keep the set tight, not allowing the CU lead to grow larger than four points before closing the gap once again. Belmont unleashed a 5-1 run to make it a 19-16 set but it appeared the team ran out of gas down the stretch despite strong attacks by junior Alexa Nichols (Walton, Ky.), graduate student Jessica Vestal (Concord, Calif.) and seniors Brie Lewis (Stilwell, Kan.) and Arianna Person (Lenexa, Kan.). Creighton capitalized on late mistakes by Belmont and went on to take the set, 25-19.
Vestal and Person led the team in kills with seven and six, respectively. Junior Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.) finished with 13 assists. Junior Haley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill.) contributed six digs while Vestal and Person each added five. Freshman Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) recorded her first collegiate solo block.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday for the final day of the Kansas Invitational. The Bruins face off against No. 21 Purdue with first serve set for Noon. Live stats will be available. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.