Volleyball Sweeps Campbell at Home
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - The Belmont Bruin volleyball team got a crucial and much-needed win over the Campbell Camels Friday night in the Curb Event Center. With the win, the Bruins move to 3-2 in conference play and 9-13 on the season.
The game had definite Atlantic Sun implications, with only one win separating second and sixth place. Campbell came into the match sitting in third place behind Kennesaw State and Lipscomb at 3-1. Belmont entered the contest in sixth place in the conference with a 2-2 record. The win moves the Bruins, at least momentarily, into fourth place in the conference. It was also the 10th consecutive win over Campbell.
"I was just really, really pleased with how our team handled first-ball contact," Head Coach Deane Webb said. "We served and passed very well all night. I thought that was a major difference in the game, just our ability to dictate what was going to happen in the match on that first contact."
Belmont got another outstanding performance from senior Kayla Albritton (Gainesville, Fla.) and a strong overall performance by the team as a whole to power past Campbell. Albritton, ranked 23rd nationally in service aces, continued her solid serving game against Campbell, scoring three aces on the night. It was the fifth match in a row (every conference match this season) that Albritton has recorded at least two aces. Tonight, though, Albritton added even more offensive power with 20 kills to lead the team in that category and a new career high with 17 digs for a double-double. Freshman Jen Myer (New Braunfels, Texas) also had a solid outing, with 8 kills and a .353 hitting percentage. Myer and Albritton's success is especially notable considering Belmont used a different alignment that put both players in new positions tonight.
"Kayla, this was her first time to play on the outside in three years," Webb said. "It was a little different role for her. I thought she did a fantastic job on her first time out doing that. Some of the errors she had tonight were errors from not being used to that position yet, but she'll improve. Just a great effort in the back row, getting 15 digs, I would imagine that's near her career high. Then Jen, this was the first time in her life she's ever played the right side, and she went in and hit .350 and got 16 digs. Just really, really, a great match for those two."
The Bruins also got contributions from their middle hitters, providing the team with a very solid front line throughout the match.
"The middles were very efficient tonight. Not a tremendous number of swings, but took care of the ball. I think Al hitting over .400 and Tara, I want to say her last three swings were all kills. They did what we needed them to do out there. Just a great overall effort and we're glad to get the win."
Earlier this season, Belmont struggled to close out matches after going up two sets at the intermission, and for a while it looked like that might happen again to the Bruins, who trailed in set three 10-13 after jumping out to an early 10-5 lead. Belmont was able to regroup, however, and avoid blowing a two set lead, rallying to beat Campbell in what was a very close back and forth third set.
"I think there was certainly a moment in set three where it could have gotten away from us pretty quickly," Webb said. "After being up 10-5 and then giving up an 8-0 run, there was some concern out on the court. I was hoping not to use a timeout, but I felt like I needed to at that point. I just really credit our leaders, credit our upperclassmen for at that point just leading, and just saying, 'Okay, we're going to be better than this,' and making the decision to regain the momentum. We did that and it really was a different match from there forward."
The Bruins enter a bye-week this week and will have nearly two weeks between matches. Belmont will look to use that time to heal, rejuvenate, and refocus for the final stretch of matches for the conference regular season.
"Over the weekend, it's a chance for our kids to physically, mentally, and emotionally be refreshed and come back in next week, really ready to push and go the rest of the way," Webb said. "Conference is a much shorter run this year, but it still can be a very trying time for us if we're not prepared for it. We'll come back ready to go. Seeing what we had tonight gives us flexibility. It's good to see that and it's good to have options in what we want to do as far as lineups and still know that we have a way to be successful."
The Bruins will take on Jacksonville at home in the Curb Event Center on Oct. 29th. That match is set to start at 6:30 p.m. Belmont will then face North Florida in the final home game of the season in a 2 p.m. match on Saturday, Oct. 30th.