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Preview: New coach prepares Belmont volleyball for 2019 season

Belmont’s volleyball team will start its season Friday, hosting the Bruiser Showcase Tournament and playing two games at the Curb Event Center.

The Bruins finished last season with a record of 5-23, 5-11 within the Ohio Valley Conference. Last year’s roster featured six freshmen and four sophomores, many of whom led the Bruins in sets played and games started.

Bringing in new head coach Katelyn Harrison at the start of the year, Belmont Volleyball hopes to improve their record across the board.

Harrison arrives on campus with five years of coaching experience at the College of Charleston. During her time there the program experienced success with a record of 115-51, including two Colonial Athletic Association championships, two NCAA Tournament appearances and a run to the 2018 National Invitational Volleyball Championship Final Four.

Coach Harrison aims to restore Belmont Volleyball through returning to fundamentals.

“The kids have been great. They have been so receptive to what we need them to do, and they have just gotten better and better,” said Harrison.

Harrison has seen exponential growth in the team’s basic abilities in pre-season.

“So far in pre-season they have just done everything I’ve asked them to do, and it has just been so fun to watch this transition.”

But a new head coach isn’t the only reason Belmont volleyball fans should be excited for this year’s season.

The Bruins have nine letterwinners returning from the previous season. Headlining the group of returning players are Taylor Floyd and Mackenzie LePage.

As a freshman last season, Floyd led the Bruins in sets played, total kills, kills per set, total attacks and total points.

LePage, the other headline returnee, led the Bruins in solo blocks, block assists and total blocks.

The returnees will also be surrounded by new talent. Three freshmen will make their debut this season for the Bruins — Kailee Bass, Raegan Phillips and Lauren Walsh — as well as one junior year transfer Mackenzie Harless, who arrives from St. Mary’s University in Texas.

Despite the great mix of returning talent and new players, Belmont was voted the 10th best volleyball team within the Ohio Valley Conference by the OVC Head Volleyball and Sports information directors. However, the Bruins certainly won’t shy away from climbing up these ranks this season.

With a new head coach in place and a talented crop of players, this season promises to be an exciting one for Belmont volleyball. The Bruins will take on North Alabama at 11:30 a.m. and Milwaukee at 6 p.m. on Friday.

This article written by Ian Kayanja.

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