NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Starts and spurts of great action was not enough to lift Belmont Volleyball on the final day of its Bruiser Showcase. The Bruins (0-8) fell to East Tennessee State, 3-0, in the Curb Event Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Bruins jumped out to an early lead thanks to kill from seniors Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.) and Tori Simmons (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.). Back-to-back kills by Floyd and sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.) lifted BU by four points, 10-6. Belmont held on the slim point differential until the Bucs knotted the score 12-12. The Bruins regained the lead with the help of ETSU errors but the score would become stalemated four more times before either team was able to build distance.
A 4-0 run put East Tennessee State on top, 22-19, forcing the home team to call its first timeout of the afternoon. However, BU battled back and this time it would be ETSU using a timeout as the Bruins inched to within one point, 22-21, thanks to kills by Mullins and Floyd. The teams stalemated at 22 and 23 before ETSU was able to pull out the narrow 26-24 win.
After the narrow loss, the Bruins attempted to rally in the second frame. The Bucs came out with a 6-1 run that was finally halted with a big kill by Simmons. BU fell behind by seven, 12-5, and burned a timeout to regroup. Belmont remained in the hunt for points down the stretch, picking up more kills from Simmons and Mullins but it was not enough as the Bucs took the set, 25-11.
Following the break between sets, the Bruins worked hard to stay competitive early in the third stanza, knotting the score, 5-5, with a block assist by freshman Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) and LePage. ETSU used a 4-0 run to go up 9-5, forcing BU to call its first timeout of the third set. After the pause, Belmont notched the first point with a kill by LePage. However, the Bucs were able to push ahead, building an eight point lead, 18-10, before BU called its final timeout of the set. ETSU picked up steam in the waning points but the Bruins did not go quietly. Kills by senior Alexa Nichols (Walton, Ky.) and sophomore Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas) was enough to give the Bucs pause and use a timeout. Unfortunately, the late flurry was not enough as ETSU took the final set, 25-17.
Mullins and Floyd led the Bruins with seven kills apiece. Mason tallied 28 assists while classmate Peyton Kelley (Normal, Ill.) finished with a career and match-high 15 digs.
Belmont returns to action on Tuesday, September 11 with the annual Battle of the Boulevard duel at long-time foe Lipscomb in its Allen Arena. Live stats and video will be available. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.
All Tournament Team
Leah Clayton, ETSU
Mariah McPartland, ETSU
Callie Cook, Tulsa
Rachel Moore, Tulsa
Paola Rojas, UMBC
Carly Mason, Belmont