The Belmont volleyball team came up short Friday night in a three-set sweep to the Murray State Racers. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for the Bruins and marks their second conference loss of the season.
The Bruins totaled a hitting percentage of .173 compared to .297 for the Racers. Belmont managed a total of 39 kills while Murray State tallied 51.
Belmont coach Tony Howell said Murray State did a good job of getting Belmont out of its regular playing style.
“The biggest adjustment that we needed to make personally was just our energy level and our intensity,” Howell said. “It’s not necessarily personnel-wise, it’s just that we were not playing our style.”
After an intense rally and exchanges of points in the opening minutes, Belmont trailed slightly behind Murray state with the score at 6-4.
Senior Alex Martin and freshman Arianna Person delivered several kills, briefly allowing Belmont to lead at 15-14. However, MSU pulled ahead and ultimately took the first set 25-22.
Freshman Ellie Ivanich blazed into the second set with a service ace for the Bruins on the first play. Both teams exchanged points fairly evenly with Belmont just behind MSU one or two points for the first part of the set.
A kill from Person put the Bruins ahead at 12-11 before MSU tied the score at 12-12, forcing Belmont to call a timeout.
MSU dominated the remainder of the set, pulling ahead thanks to multiple kills and service or attack errors on Belmont’s part. The Racers decisively took set two at 25-21.
During the third set, the Bruins fought valiantly to gain ground. Martin and Person led the Bruins with a streak of kills and forcing MSU to use a timeout.
The Bruins were up 10-5 when the Racers regained momentum to tie the match at 14. MSU made three straight kills to retake the lead, forcing Belmont to call another timeout.
Belmont tried to regain its rhythm from earlier in the set, and a pair of service errors from MSU put the score at 16-18. However, despite kills from Martin, Person and senior Scarlet Gable, MSU finally took set three at 25-19, ending any chance of a Bruin comeback.
Although losing at home is difficult, Person said the team will take a lot from the experience of tonight’s game.
“We’re going to learn what we can learn from it and use that tomorrow morning to come back stronger,” said Person. “The important thing is to play how we play. We need to play on our side of the court, play our game and don’t let them dictate how everything goes.”
In spite of the loss, Howell said he feels good about Belmont’s chances in Saturday’s game against Austin Peay.
“Murray and Austin Peay are very similar teams. By playing Murray tonight, we’re prepared for Austin Peay tomorrow,” he said.
The Bruins will host the Governors Saturday at the Curb Event Center with the match set for 2 p.m.