CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. — Huge rallies in each set was not enough to lift Belmont University Volleyball to a win on the road Friday evening. The Bruins (2-19, 2-8 OVC) were edged in close sets at Southeast Missouri State (14-8, 6-3 OVC), 3-0.
The opening of the match was an intensive back-and-forth battle that saw neither team able to put more than two points between their opponent through the midpoint of the set. After seven ties, the Redhawks were the first to break away and add points but the Bruins battled back, knotting the score at 14. Southeast Missouri surged ahead once more but BU hung tight down the stretch and remained within striking distance. Belmont called its second timeout of the set, trailing 21-19, but was only able to add two more points as SEMO eked out the 25-21 win.
The Redhawks attacked early and used a 4-0 run to take a 13-11 lead, forcing the Bruins to call a huddle session. BU turned up the heat and used a surge of its own to take a 16-15 lead that pushed Southeast Missouri State back on its heels so far that it had to burn a timeout. All told Belmont used a 6-1 flurry to pull ahead and eventually expanded its lead to 21-17. SEMO called its second timeout and slowly began to rally, going on to knot the score at 22. The set turned into a slugfest in the waning points with the teams going into extra points before a decision would be made. The Bruins pulled ahead and stood on the verge of set point before SEMO rallied once again to take the frame, 28-26.
Belmont opened the third stanza with a 7-1 run to go up 7-3 early. The Redhawks battled back to knot the score, 10-10 but the Bruins fired back with a 5-0 run to grab a 14-10 advantage. However, Southeast Missouri State refused to go away and put together a run force a stalemate at 17. The score would be tied five more times before SEMO grabbed the lead for a final time en route to narrowly taking the frame, 25-23.
Sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.) led the Bruins with a match-high 10 kills. Freshman Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) posted 21 assists, followed by sophomore Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) finished with 18. A trio of Bruins recorded double digit digs, led by freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) with 14. Senior Haley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill.) added 13 digs, followed by freshman Peyton Kelley (Normal, Ill.) who tallied 10. Kelley also notched a pair of service aces.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday afternoon with a stop at in-state rival UT Martin. Match time is set for 2 p.m. Live stats will be available. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.