In front of a rowdy home crowd during the season opener, the Belmont volleyball team lost in four sets to former Atlantic Sun rival Kennesaw State on Friday night at the Curb Event Center.
Although the match didn’t result in a win, Belmont coach Tony Howell said he found positive things to take away from the game.
“We saw some good things and we saw some things that we need to fix. It’s just the first match of the year, but it was an exciting match,” said Howell.
Scarlet Gable led the team in kills, serving aces and digs while Emma Price had the most assists by a wide margin.
The first set was a constant back and forth in an exciting match, and neither team got more than a two to three point lead. Though it was close, Belmont ultimately lost 22-25.
The second set was much different. The Bruins showed they were determined to win, and they pushed to earn a 12 point lead. Although the Owls regained possession a few times, Belmont ultimately won 25-13.
During the third set, Kennesaw State came back with vengeance and the game returned to a back and forth match. Neither team gained more than a two point lead as both teams were determined to win.
When one team reached match point, the other team was quick to regain a tie, and then a lead. It took a long time for either team to score a point during this set with the ball sometimes crossing the net more than 10 times. In an exciting exchange of intense rallies, Kennesaw State won 34-36.
“Well, you know, the interesting thing is back when Belmont was in the A-Sun, Kennesaw was a little bit different team. They’re a whole lot better, a whole lot more dynamic, a lot more aggressive team today than they were back then,” said Howell. “So I knew coming into this match it would be an exciting match because we match each other. Point for point, and as you can tell 36-34, so I mean it was an exciting match.”
In the fourth set, Belmont took a short, early lead. They managed to maintain a one to two point lead early on, but Kennesaw State caught up around the fifth point. From there, the game was filled with constant one point leads and ties. This set was closer than the last one and ended 25-27 for Kennesaw.
Despite the loss, everyone in the crowd was excited to watch the match, especially the boys from Pembroke Hall carrying on their proud volleyball tradition with body paint, cheers and even a round of “That’s What Makes You Beautiful.”
“No words can express how exciting it was. The crowd was in it. I mean, this is one of the biggest crowds that we ever had and they were all in it and they all stayed. That’s how exciting a game it was and the girls are all excited about it. It was just amazing volleyball. On both sides, it was just great volleyball,” said Howell.
The invitational continues tomorrow when Belmont faces Youngstown State at 9:30 a.m. and Evansville at 6 p.m. in the Curb Event Center.
Written by staff writer Ashley Castle