NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In front a Curb Event Center record crowd of 1,048 fans, Belmont Volleyball battled hard in its 2018 home opener. Unfortunately, visiting first-time opponent Iowa (2-1) proved to be too much for the Bruins (0-4) with a 3-0 decision going in favor of the Hawkeyes.
The opening stanza was all Iowa as the visiting team pulled ahead, 5-1, leading to Belmont's first called timeout. A pair of kills by senior Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.) looked to rally BU but the Hawkeyes continued to pour on the points and take advantage of costly BU errors. A kill by senior Tori Simmons (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) closed the gap to five points, 19-14, but Iowa went on the take the set, 25-15.
The second frame was tight from the opening whistle as BU claimed the first point with a kill by freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.). Belmont remained within striking distance through the midpoint, thanks to the work by sophomore Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas), Floyd and sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.). However, the Hawks began to pull away down the stretch and forced Belmont to burn a second timeout with a six-point differential, 16-10. Despite a late kill by Mullins, it was not enough to counteract costly errors as the Hawkeyes took the set, 25-18.
Iowa jumped out to another early lead, 10-5, to start the third frame and did not look back. Errors again proved costly as Iowa pulled ahead, 18-11, and BU called its second timeout of the set. A late kill by Simmons was too little, too late as the Hawkeyes took the final stanza, 25-15.
Mullins led BU with a match-high 12 kills. Freshman Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) finished with a match-high 24 assists. Senior Haley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill.) added nine digs while Van Poppel contributed eight.
Belmont returns to action on Tuesday with a trip to Western Kentucky. Match time is set for 6 p.m. Live stats and video will be available. Fans can also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.