The Battle of the Boulevard lived up to its name with a hard-fought 3-1 loss by Belmont to Lipscomb at the Curb Event Center Tuesday night.
Rivalry matches always have different atmospheres than other games, and this one was no exception. Before the match started the Pembroke student section was alive and ready to cheer on the Bruins with painted chests, rally drums and chants.
However, Belmont hasn’t claimed a match in this rivalry since 2011, and weren’t able to Tuesday night, either.
The first set was owned by Belmont early as they jumped out to an outstanding 21-8 lead. The lead was built on a team effort as sophomore Halee Van Poppel, sophomore Mary Catherine Ball, freshman Lauren Walsh and junior Mackenzie Harless all recorded a kill in this early run.
However, Lipscomb wasn’t going to just give up without a fight. Aided by mental mistakes in the second half of the frame by Belmont, and the standout play of Maddie Phillips, the Bisons brought the lead down to two, but a service error and attack error by Lipscomb would lead to the 25-21 set win for Belmont.
In the second set, Belmont would trail behind, resulting in 15-7 halfway through the set. After a kill by Maddie Phillips and an attack error by Belmont, the Bisons shut the door on Belmont’s hope of clawing back, closing the set at 25-15 in Lipscomb’s favor.
Belmont was up early in the third set with a 12-7 lead, but again Lipscomb rallied back on a 7-0 run to take a 2-point lead — 14-12. A service error by Lipscomb’s Alyssa Zwolensky would stop the rally and Van Poppel’s kill would tie the game 14 all.
From this point forward, no team had a significant advantage, and the rivals traded points all the way up to 24. Two attack errors by Belmont would lead to a 26-24 set win for the Bisons, putting Lipscomb in the lead for sets won.
Both teams struggled to put together a run in the fourth frame until halfway through, where Lipscomb would put together a 3-0 run which they would not look back from. They took the fourth and final frame by 5 points with a final score of 25-20.
After the game, coach Harrison spoke on what worked and didn’t work for the Bruins.
“Early we showed that when we serve aggressively and take advantage of the opportunities they give us we can win, but we went away from that in the second, third and fourth set,” she said.
Though Belmont lost another matchup with Lipscomb, they can take away some positives from the match; mainly, versatility in their shots, Harrison said.
The standout Bruins were Walsh with 11 kills, Harless with 9 and Ball with 9. Peyton Kelley led the way in total digs with 24 and Kailee Bass led the way in blocks with 3.
The next match is set for Friday at the University of North Florida.
This article written by Ian Kayanja. Photos by Chloe Eberhardt.