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OVC Opening Fall

OVC Opening Fall

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Despite an incredibly strong start to open Ohio Valley Conference play, Belmont Volleyball was held off on the road on Friday evening. The Bruins (1-15, 0-1 OVC) fell at Morehead State (10-3, 1-0 OVC), 3-1.

The teams traded points to open the first stanza before the Eagles build a slim lead. The Bruins came storming back behind kills from junior Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas) and a pair of block assists by freshman Kailee Bass (Aurora, Ill.) and sophomore Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.). Belmont used a 5-0 run to take a 17-12 lead, forcing Morehead State to call for a timeout to regroup. BU continued to pile on the points down the stretch with the help of kills by sophomore Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.), junior Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) and Ball to lift the team past the 20-point threshold. MSU burned its second timeout but Belmont quickly added three more points, capped with a hard kill by newcomer MacKenzie Harless (Brownsburg, Ind.). A pair of Eagle errors helped to secure the 25-20 win for Belmont.

Belmont opened the second frame with a 5-0 run that saw Bass at the net with a pair of block assists. The Eagles finally settled into the set and were able to close the gap to one point, 12-11. BU called for a huddle session and came out as a force once again but MSU used a 4-0 flurry to grab its first lead of the set, 16-14. Belmont called for a timeout to refocus and quickly worked to knot the score, 17-17. Morehead State used a 4-0 run to put set point in its sights. Kills from Ball, Harless and Van Poppel were not enough in the waning points as MSU held on to take the stanza, 25-21.

After falling behind early in set three, 4-2, BU called for a huddle session and came out swinging. Belmont was able to close the scoring differential to just one point, 14-13, by the midpoint of the frame.  Flying kills from Floyd, Ball and Harless kept the Bruins within striking distance but Morehead State used a 4-0 run to pull ahead, 18-14, and push the Bruins to use a timeout. The Eagles continued to push down the stretch and put the frame out of reach for good with another scoring flurry, taking the third frame, 25-16.

Morehead State carried over its momentum from the previous set into the fourth, using a 5-1 run to take an early lead. Belmont rallied and closed the gap to 10-8 behind a kill from Ball combined with a series of Eagle errors. MSU pushed again and pull ahead, 14-9, despite kills from Ball and Harless. The scoring differential saw BU call for a timeout and MSU came out with a 4-0 run in response. Belmont moved as close as seven, 20-13, before the Eagles pulled away for good and took the frame, 25-15.

For the match, junior Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas) led the Bruins with 14 kills, followed by sophomore Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.), who contributed 10. Junior Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) posted 31 assists while freshman Lauren Walsh (Torrance, Calif.) finished with 13 digs. Freshman Kailee Bass (Aurora, Ill.) tallied four block assists in the effort. 

Belmont returns to action on Saturday with a stop at Eastern Kentucky. First serve is set for 12 p.m. CT. Live stats will be available. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.