MARTIN, Tenn. -- After a slow start, Belmont University racheted up the heat on both sides of the ball on Saturday. Unfortuantely, it would not be enough to take the match away on the road at UT Martin (11-12, 5-5 OVC) as the Bruins (2-20, 2-8 OVC) fell, 3-0.
UT Martin jumped off to an early lead in the opening set, using a 4-0 run to pull away, 11-4, and forcing the Bruins to call for its first huddle session. Belmont fell behind for the first time by double digits, 16-6, despite kills from freshmen Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.) and Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) and quickly called its second timeout of the frame. The Skyhawks continued to press down the stretch and handily took the set, 25-9. The point tally for BU would be the first time since 2016 that the team was held to under 10 points in a set.
Another early run put the Skyhawks ahead to open the second stanza. A 7-0 run handed UTM a 10-2 lead that saw Belmont burn its first timeout of the set. At the end of the flurry, UT Martin had used a 9-1 run to put distance between the teams. The Bruins attempted a rally around the midpoint of the set, capitalizing on Skyhawk errors, a service ace from sophomore Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) and a pair of kills from senior Alexa Nichols (Walton, Ky.). Another late rally effort saw BU pick up points off a solo block from sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.) and kills from Nichols, Warrior and
The Bruins grabbed their first lead of the match to open the third set, going up 5-3. However, the Skyhawks would rally back to knot the score, 8-8. Suddenly, four unanswered points put Belmont on top, 12-8, and saw UT Martin call its first timeout of the match. The Bruins maintained their point differential and kept pushing back the Skyhawks. BU pulled ahead 18-14, forcing UT Martin to burn its final timeout of the frame. UTM inched back to within one point, 23-22, and this time it would be Belmont calling for a huddle session. The Skyhawks used a 5-0 run to overtake the lead late, 24-23. BU beat back four UTM match points before the home team was able to take the final frame, 27-25.
Freshman Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) led the Bruins with nine kills. Nichols recorded six kills in the effort. Freshman Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) posted 16 assists. Warrior tallied 11 digs while senior Haley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill.) added 10 in the effort.
Belmont returns to action on Tuesday, October 23 in the Curb Event Center. The Bruins host crosstown rival Tennessee State for an OVC duel. First serve is slated for 6 p.m. Live stats will be available and the contest can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network