NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Despite some positive late surges, Belmont Volleyball was unable to put away Tulsa on the first day of the Bruiser Showcase. The Bruins (0-7) fell to the Golden Hurricane (3-2), 3-0, in the Curb Event Center on Friday night.
BU grabbed an early lead in the first set, adding points quickly thank to kills by seniors Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.) and Tori Simmons (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and UT errors. The Bruins took advantage of more Golden Hurricane miscues through the midpoint of the set and went ahead, 14-11. Tulsa called timeout as Belmont pushed ahead, looking to build on its three-point lead, 18-15. Suddenly, the Golden Hurricanes grabbed the lead, 21-20, and it was Belmont's turn to call timeout. Tulsa did not left up and went on to take the set down the stretch, 25-20.
The second frame saw Tulsa start and stay hot, capitalizing on Bruin miscues. Belmont called timeout to regroup after quickly falling behind, 9-3. The Bruins had few answers for its own errors down the stretch, falling into a nine-point deficit, 20-11, that caused it to burn its final timeout of the set. A late kill by freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) only trimmed the deficit to 11 in the waning points as Tulsa took the set, 25-14.
A slow start in the third stanza put the Bruins behind the eight ball early. The Golden Hurricanes used a 6-0 run to go up, 10-3, before back-to-back kills by Simmons and sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.) looked to spark the team. A kill by freshman Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) cut the UT lead in half, 12-6, but Tulsa was able to maintain considerable distance down the stretch. Belmont put together a small flurry, fueled by kills from Mason, LePage and Simmons that made it a seven-point differential, 21-14. Unfortunately, BU would only be able to add three more points as it fell, 25-17.
Freshman Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.) and sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.) led the Bruins with six kills apiece. Freshman Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) collected 18 assists while senior Tori Simmons (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) finished with career and match-high 14 digs.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday for the final day of the Bruiser Showcase in the Curb Event Center. The Bruins take on ETSU beginning at 2 p.m. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the start of the program, Belmont Volleyball alumnae will be honored. The match versus the Bucs will have live stats available and can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network.