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Belmont volleyball falls short in Battle of the Boulevard

The Belmont volleyball team, coming off a 1-2 record in the Panther Invitational, failed to secure a win in its home opener on Tuesday night against the Lipscomb University Bisons.

Over 500 people packed the Curb Event Center to witness the rivalry game famously dubbed the “Battle of the Boulevard,” with Bruins fans hoping Belmont could carry its momentum after a 3-2 win against Georgia State University on Saturday.

The first set started off smoothly for Belmont, taking a commanding 9-3 lead.

Lipscomb slowly clawed its way back into the match, edging closer and closer as the set progressed. Before long, the Bisons tied the set 21-21.

But following a pair of kills from freshman Brooke Gilleland and junior Sydney Willis, the Bruins secured the first set 25-22.

In the second set, Belmont failed to replicate its initial success — Lipscomb controlled all the momentum. And after a set of kills, the Bisons stole the second set 25-17.

Lipscomb continued its red-hot comeback in the third.

For every Belmont point, the Bisons had a response, eventually winning the set 25-14.

Despite an inability to score early in the set, the Bruins tied the fourth set at 23-23. Still, the Bruins failed to rally a comeback, and the Bisons secured the match with a 25-23 win.

While Belmont was outnumbered in overall kills, two Bruins still finished with double-digit points. Junior Lauren Shoopman led the Bruins with 12 kills and junior Kristen Clemons finished with 11.

In light of the Bruins’ poor stats in the second and third sets, head coach Katelyn Harrison felt optimistic about how the Bruins finished the match.

“I'm still really proud of the team,” Harrison said. “Games two and three, you look at the stats, and they were pretty bad and definitely not representative of what we did in game one, so I'm glad how we ended.”

Coach Harrison hopes to learn from the mistakes in the Lipscomb match and capture some wins this Labor Day weekend. The Bruins will travel to Pullman, Washington, to participate in the Cougar Challenge.

The Bruins will kick off the tournament with a match against Washington State University on Friday at 2:30 p.m. followed by a match against California Baptist University at 6:30 p.m. The team will finish off the weekend tournament against California State University Bakersfield on Saturday.

PHOTO: Libero/Defensive Specialist Rachel McBride defends the ball against Lipscomb Ben Burton/Belmont Vision

This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer. Contributory reporting by Maya Burney.

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