NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont Volleyball returns to the road for a second consecutive this weekend, traveling to the Sunshine State for a tournament. The Bruins (1-7) will play in the River City Rumble, co-hosted by North Florida (2-5) and Jacksonville (1-5), at two sites in Jacksonville, September 13-14. Charleston Southern (2-5) will also play in the two-day tournament.
The Ospreys will look to begin a win streak when it hosts its second home tournament of the season this weekend. After the UNF Invitational, North Florida stands at 2-5. UNF is led in kills by Gabby O'Connell, who has tallied a whopping 106. Julianna Askew leads the team in assists with a total of 228 while Rocio Moro leads in digs after recording 132. Emma Dixon has posted a notable 20 block assists.
Belmont leads the all-time series, 8-1. The teams have not met since 2011 in Jacksonville with BU winning, 3-1.
First-time opponent Charleston Southern comes into the tournament looking to extend its recent win streak after closing the Carolina Classic with a win and a victory over North Carolina A&T earlier this week to stand at 2-5. Brooke Monssen and Carsyn Starr lead the Buccaneers in kills, contributing 74 and 72, respectively. Emilee Karelse leads CSU in assists with a total of 132 while Skylar Blackmon leads in digs after posting 74. Leading the way in block assists is Paige Reagor, who has collected 16 plus a pair of solo blocks.
This marks the first meeting between the programs.
Jacksonville snapped a five-match skid to open the season with a win over Chattanooga just before the start of the River City Rumble to stand at 1-5. Mallory Mattingly leads the Dolphins in kills with a total of 79 while Natalie Wehner leads the team in digs with a total of 114. Natalie Martin leads JU in assists with a total of 157 and in service aces after recording 11 so far. Sydney Bolding's 25 block assists leads the team.
The all-time series is stalemated, 9-9. The teams have not faced off since 2010 when Belmont won, 3-0, in the Curb Event Center.
Belmont hosted Lipscomb in the annual Battle of the Boulevard duel earlier this week, falling 3-1, after a hot start. Sophomore Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.) and junior Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas) lead the Bruins in kills, adding 75 apiece. Sophomore Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) leads BU in assists with a total of 154, followed by junior Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas), who has tallied 124. Sophomore Faith Cobaugh (Union, Ky.) has notched 77 digs to lead the team in the category, followed by Ball, who has recorded 67. Freshman Kailee Bass (Aurora, Ill.) has notched a pair of solo blocks and team-leading 32 block assists.
Several Bruins are making statistical waves across the Ohio Valley Conference. Mason has knocked down 12 service aces, good for fourth in the league in the category while her assist tally has moved her into 10th conference wide. She also stands 32nd among all NCAA Division I players in service aces. Kailee Bass has posted 31 blocks to stand fourth in the OVC in the category. She is also nationally ranked in blocks per set, coming in at 20th among all NCAA Division I players as of September 8. Bass is also ranked 47th nationally in blocks per set.
Belmont's first match of the River City Rumble is Friday at 9 a.m. CT against co-host North Florida. The matchup can be streamed on the SWOOPLife network online. Live stats will be available for each match of the tournament. Fans may also follow the Belmont's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.