INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Belmont Volleyball battled hard in each frame but was held off in its opening contest of the Bulldog Brawl. The Bruins (1-12) fell to first-time opponent Loyola Marymount (5-5), 3-0, on Friday afternoon in historic Hinkle Fieldhouse.
The Lions jumped out to an early lead in the first frame before the Bruins were able to knot the score, 8-8, behind kills from sophomore Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) and junior Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas). LMU was able to build up steam over the midpoint of the frame, expanding its lead to as many as four, 14-10, points before BU began attempting to chip away. A late 6-0 run for Loyola Marymount put the first-time opponent ahead and the visitor went on to take the set, 25-13.
LMU opened the second stanza with a 6-0 scoring run after Belmont got on the board. BU called for a huddle session after the Lions pulled ahead, 12-6, and used a kill by freshman Kailee Bass (Aurora, Ill.) to help spark some momentum. Belmont closed the scoring differential to seven points before Loyola Marymount pulled away down the stretch. BU used a quick 3-0 run to pull within eight, 22-14, but that would be as close as they would come as the Lions took the frame, 25-15.
The third set saw the Lions jump out to another fast start, 14-7, despite kills by Floyd, sophomore Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.) and freshman Lauren Walsh (Torrance, Calif.). Belmont rolled off four consecutive points to move within three, 15-12. BU remained hot on Loyola Marymount's heels and used a combination of Lion attack errors with kills by Floyd and Ball plus a solid block by Bass and Floyd.
The sudden flurry caused LMU to call for timeout as Belmont had pulled within two, 18-16. After the brief break, the Lions rebounded with a flurry of their own points to rebuild a lead in the waning points. Belmont called for its own huddle session after it fell behind by five, 22-17. Despite a kill by newcomer MacKenzie Harless (Brownsburg, Ind.), LMU was able to push for the 25-18 win.
For the day, sophomores Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.) and Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) each finished with eight kills to lead BU. Junior Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) posted a match-high 21 assists. Four Bruins contributed six digs each.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday for the final day of the Bulldog Brawl. The Bruins take on host-Butler at 11 a.m. CT and Pacific at 2 p.m. CT. Live stats will be available for both matches. The contest versus the Bulldogs will be streamed on Facebook Live. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.