NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Despite incredibly strong comeback efforts in each set, Belmont University Volleyball was unable to topple visiting Morehead State on Friday night. The Bruins (0-17,0-5 OVC) were held off by the Eagles (12-5, 4-1 OVC), 3-0.
The teams traded points to start the first frame before the Eagles began pulling away. A 3-0 run put MSU ahead, 12-6, and forced the Bruins to call a quick huddle session to regroup. Belmont was able to add a couple of points off a kill by senior Alexa Nichols (Walton, Ky.) and a service ace by freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) before Morehead State used an 8-0 scoring flurry to inch within set point. However, the Bruins refused to give up down the stretch, rolling off five-straight points to build an impressive late rally but was only able to close the gap to 25-14.
Morehead State jumped out to an early lead in the second set but the Bruins began another rally in earnest. Sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.) opened the door with a hard kill down the center of the court and followed with a service ace. The Bruins continued to put in the work and soon knotted the frame, 11-11, with the help of a block assist by Nichols and sophomore Akia Warrior (Ft. Worth, Texas). BU remained within three points through the midpoint of the set after a brief Eagle rally.
A pair of kills by senior Tori Simmons (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) looked to spark the Bruins late in the set as Belmont moved to within five, 24-19. The home team kept the pressure on but fell shy in the late attempt, falling 25-21.
The Bruins worked hard to find an offensive rhythm early in the third stanza as the Eagles were able to pull ahead, 10-3. Belmont finally settled down and used kills from freshman Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.), Nichols and newcomer Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) to close the gap. BU inched to within six, 19-13, and kept pushing. A trio of kills by senior Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.) and one more from Nichols forced the Eagles to call their first timeout of the contest, leading only by three, 20-17. Morehead State struggled to hold back the surging Bruins but managed to hold on for the 25-19 win.
Simmons, Mullins and Nichols each finished with six kills while freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) added five. Sophomore Akia Warrior (Ft. Worth, Texas) finished with 20 assists and a match-high two service aces. Senior Haley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill.) posted 13 digs while Simmons contributed 12.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday at the Curb Event Center, hosting Eastern Kentucky for another OVC tilt. First serve is set for 2 p.m. Live stats will be available and the match can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.