Belmont’s volleyball team swept the Jacksonville State University Gamecocks behind a suspenseful third set Friday night.
In their last game against the Gamecocks, the Bruins fought back from a two-set deficit to win a five-set thriller. This time, months of practicing on everything from blocking to on-court transitions finally came together, said Belmont coach Tony Howell.
“It’s a lot of things we’ve been working on since preseason that the girls are starting to click on. They’re starting to feel comfortable,” Howell said. “They’re starting to take some chances and take some risks, which is great.”
The Bruins quickly took the lead in the first set, bringing the score up 4-1 thanks to efforts from freshman Emma Price and senior Alex Martin.
The Bruins continued to dominate the set, forcing JSU to call timeout at 15-11 and again at 18-13 after blocks by Arianna Person and Martin. Belmont finished with a corner-kill by senior Scarlet Gable and a service ace from Martin to end the first set, 25-19.
Martin opened the second set with a kill, followed by an attack setup from Price and junior Jocelyn Youngdahl.
After a short but intense rally, the Bruins and the Gamecocks had to replay a point which left judges befuddled. In the end however, Belmont took the score to 8-4 with a dig from freshman Ellie Ivancich to set up Martin for another successful attack.
Price and Person both landed aces for the Bruins, but JSU finally began to regain momentum as the set continued and brought the score to 15-9.
Several point exchanges later, Belmont was forced to call timeout after JSU pulled within two points, 21-19.
The Bruins stood their ground and were able to drive JSU back, forcing the Gamecocks into another timeout at 23-20 Belmont. After another rally of points, Croft rounded out the set with a second win for Belmont, albeit with a closer score of 25-22.
It was the third set where things got electric.
JSU came into the set much stronger, taking its first lead of the night at 3-2 before a block from Martin tied the teams. Belmont continued to push forward with junior Regan Kennamer putting in another ace to give the Bruins a 7-4 lead.
The teams continued to rally for the remainder of the set and eventually found themselves tied at 25 a piece. Although it seemed like neither team could grab the two points needed to claim the set, Person secured the sweep with one last kill to win the set 30-28.
“It’s that sense of urgency that has to happen, that really makes you buckle down and get the job done,” said Person. “I think that third game is really what got us. It’s nice to have someone to compete with to make you really work hard.”
Belmont will continue its home stand tomorrow against Tennessee Tech at 2 p.m.