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Belmont volleyball sweeps MVC competition

Sophomore Peyton O’Brien sets the ball in a game against Southern Illinois University on Sept. 24; Ben Burton/Belmont Vision

Securing its first Missouri Valley Conference victory against Murray State University, Belmont volleyball looked to keep its momentum rolling against the University of Evansville on Friday and Indiana State University on Saturday.

In a difficult first set against Evansville, the Bruins ran away with the 25-21 win.

In the set, neither team could gain an advantage until the Bruins made a late run, which ended with a block from junior Sydney Willis and senior Lauren Walsh.

The second set continued to feature intense action with long rallies. But the Purple Aces successfully prevented the Bruins from capturing the set, winning 27-25.

Belmont managed to avenge its second set defeat in the third. With the frame tied 24-24, the Bruins won two consecutive points due to a kill and block from Willis.

Down 20-15 in the fourth, the Bruins were able to win nine straight points, coming back to take a 24-20 lead. With one point remaining to snap Evansville’s winning streak, the Purple Aces silenced the Belmont crowd by winning six straight to steal the fourth set 26-24.

Going into the fifth, Belmont looked to close out the match in the win column.

Taking an early 6-3 lead, the Bruins won 15-10.

Overall, the match had 46 ties and 13 lead changes.

Head coach Katelyn Harrison noticed the change in her team throughout the match.

“I thought we did a really nice job,” Harrison said. “In all of the games tonight, we gave up a run at some point, and in the past month, we probably would have folded on some of those runs, but tonight we were quick to flip them around and turn them in our favor.”

Heading into Saturday’s match, the Bruins tried to end the weekend with another win.

Belmont seemed to control the tempo against the Sycamores as it never allowed them to find their groove.

In the first set, the Bruins had leads of 7-2 and 19-10 before winning 25-20.

In the second set, the Bruins performed better, the team racked up 16 kills with just two errors, leading to a 25-20 win.

Capitalizing on Indiana State’s missteps in the third set, Belmont successfully closed out the match with a 25-21 win.

The Bruins secured a three-match winning streak against conference opponents for the first time in four years.

Coach Harrison was pleased with what she saw from her team.

"We're playing really well and starting to gel together as a team," Harrison said. "We've held the same lineup for a pretty good stretch, which I think is a big part of that. Overall, it's feeling good, we're firing on all cylinders, and I think having other people be able to step up and perform on nights when we need them to is really nice.”

Belmont will carry its momentum into the next weekend as it travels to face off against the University of Illinois Chicago on Friday and Valparaiso University on Saturday.

This article was written by Ty Wellemeyer

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