NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A comeback effort that nearly mirrored the one from the night before fell just short for Belmont Volleyball on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins (2-18, 2-6 OVC) were edged by visiting Murray State (11-9, 5-3 OVC) in the Curb Event Center, 3-1.
Both teams still soaring from their five-set victories the night before were on the hunt to establish a scoring groove early in the first set. The Racers pulled ahead 10-4, forcing the Bruins to be the first to call a huddle session. The Bruins used a 3-0 run to spark a late run but MSU was able to hold on for the 25-14 win.
The second stanza saw the teams trade points early with neither able to put more than two points in between their opponent. The Bruins dug in and knotted the score 11-11 before a solo block by freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) put BU on top by one. Belmont continued to roll to the tune of a 7-0 run, including a pair of service aces by freshman Peyton Kelley (Normal, Ill.), increasing its lead to 15-11, pushing a stunned Racer bench burned a timeout. MSU surged and inched to within three, 21-19, forcing the Bruins to call a precautionary huddle session. The Racers did not left off the gas, moving to within one, 22-21, but Belmont fired back echoing the previous match's ferocity and used a hard kill into the center of the floor by Floyd to secure to 25-22 win.
The Bruins briefly pulled ahead, 7-5, before Murray State got back into the early portion of the third frame. A pair of cross court kills by senior Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.) was enough to knot the score, 9-9, but the Racers got hot, collecting points from kills and ill-timed Bruin errors. However, Belmont battled back to force a 15-15 stalemate before the Racers rolled off three consecutive points to regain control. A pair of timeouts called by the Bruins saw the home team trim the deficit to four, 21-17, before MSU used a 4-0 run to get to set point. Belmont roared one final time with a flurry of points, thanks to back-to-back block assists by senior Alexa Nichols (Walton, Ky.) and freshman Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.), to remain within four, but the Racers were able to hold on for the 25-20 win.
In the fourth set, the teams traded points early once again, pushing through three ties, before the Racers pulled ahead, 14-10. The Bruins burned a timeout to regain footing and hovered around a four-point differential through the midpoint of the frame. A 3-0 run lifted MSU to a seven-point lead, 20-13, that saw Belmont call its final timeout of the stanza. Belmont was able to add three more points thanks to kills by Floyd, sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.), and freshman Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.), however it would not be enough as Murray State took the set, 25-16.
Floyd was one kill shy of matching her career-best with 15 kills while Mullins added 10 in the effort. Mason posted 41 assists, just one shy of matching her career-high. Freshman Peyton Kelley (Normal, Ill.) tallied 15 digs. Mason and Floyd also notched a solo block apiece.
Belmont returns to action on October 23, hosting crosstown rival Tennessee State in the Curb Event Center. First serve is set for 6 p.m. Live stats will be available and the matchup can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.