BOWLING GREEN, Ky. -- Strong play on both sides of the net fell just shy in helping Belmont Volleyball bring a halt to the nation's longest home win streak on the road Tuesday night. The Bruins (0-5) were held off by Western Kentucky (2-2), 3-0.
The teams traded points to open the first frame before WKU put five points between the teams, 8-3. A 4-0 run moved to Bruins to within five, 13-8, fueled by a service ace by sophomore Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.). The Lady Toppers gathered momentum and pulled ahead by as many as seven, 18-11. BU called its final timeout of the set to regroup but Western Kentucky refused to let up and took the set, 25-16.
WKU used a 3-0 run to take a 7-5 lead, forcing the Bruins to burn a timeout early in the second frame. After the brief break, freshman Mary Catherine Ball (Henderson, N.C.) knocked down a kill and senior Haley Sullivan (Lemont, Ill.) followed with a service ace. The rally helped Belmont keep the match close through the midpoint, separated by only two points at a time. This time it would be WKU calling a timeout to strategize as BU used a 3-0 run to knot the score at 15. The Lady Toppers surged and fought off a scrappy Bruin squad to take a slim, 21-19 lead. The flurry caused the Bruins to call timeout. Despite keeping it close down the stretch, BU dropped the second set, 25-21.
The Bruins came out hungry and grabbed an early lead to start the third stanza. However, the Lady Toppers were focused on making it a back-and-forth contest before pulling ahead 10-5, powered by a 4-0 run. Belmont dug deep and used block assists by Ball and sophomore LePage to put WKU back on its heels. With only four points separating the team, 15-11, the Lady Toppers called timeout. Western Kentucky was able to maintain a five-point differential down the stretch, despite a surging Bruin squad. BU was able to whittle it down to a three-point set, 20-17, but the Lady Toppers were able to hold on for the 25-20 win.
Senior Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.) led all Bruins with seven kills, followed by freshman Carly Mason (Fortsyth, Ill.) who added six in the effort. Mason also led the team in assists with a total of 22 and notched her first career double-double with a match-high 10 digs.
Belmont returns to action on Friday, August 31. The Bruins host the annual Bruiser Showcase welcoming UMBC, ETSU and Tulsa in the friendly confines of the Curb Event Center. BU takes on UMBC at 11:30 a.m. and Tulsa at 6 p.m. on the first day of the tournament. Live stats will be available and all Belmont matches can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.