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Belmont volleyball struggles in MVC debut against Missouri State, Southern Illinois

Coming off two-straight wins, Belmont volleyball lost its Missouri Valley Conference debut on Friday and Saturday.

Belmont faced Missouri State University on Friday and quickly turned around to play Southern Illinois University on Saturday.

The team went into both games with good communication and strong hits from junior Ally Peterson.

Still, Missouri State pulled forward to win the first two sets in Friday’s match due to accurate blocks and well-placed serves as the Bruins struggled to find consistency.

In a tense third set, the Bruins came away victorious 26-24 as junior Laura Shoopman recorded several critical kills. Junior libero Rachel McBride also had a remarkable third set, digging up every ball the Bears threw at her.

Unable to keep the momentum going, Belmont fell short in the fourth, 9-25. The Bruins returned to the court to face Illinois State on Saturday.

The game started off tight as Shoopman and Peterson both contributed incredible hits to keep them in the match.

But the Salukis pulled ahead early.

Even after a late 5-point-run by the Bruins, the Salukis won 25-19.

The Bruins never quite got a foothold until the last moments of the second set. Still, Belmont’s serves were not up to par, allowing Southern Illinois to take advantage of the opportunity.

In a nail-biting set, the Bruins lost 24-26 after failing to dig up crucial hits.

Trailing 0-2, Belmont’s confidence was slightly diminished in the beginning of set three, but it wasn’t long until the Bruins found their swings again.

As the score seesawed past 25 between the teams and after a hit by Peterson, Belmont secured the frame with a final score of 28-26.

The momentum remained in the Bruins’ favor in the fourth set as the Saluki backrow was not able to keep up with Belmont’s swings, allowing the Bruins to pull through.

With the game coming down to a fifth and final set, the Belmont looked to complete its comeback.

But after struggling to pick up hits and multiple serving errors, the Bruins failed to come out on top, losing 8-15.

"I think part of it is just the belief that we can do it. I think there's been so much hype about how good the Missouri Valley Conference is, and going from the OVC to the Missouri Valley and what the jump looks like and I think for us it's just believing that we belong,” head coach Katelyn Harrison said after the game.

After falling short in its first pair of MVC matches, Belmont now has a quick turnaround as the team will face off away at Murray State University on Tuesday. The Bruins will return home on Friday to play the University of Evansville. PHOTO Junior Ally Peterson looks to terminate the ball past defenders. Ben Burton/Belmont Vision This article was written by Maya Burney.

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