NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Late rallies fell shy of assisting Belmont Volleyball topple one of the top teams in the Ohio Valley Conference on Saturday afternoon in the Curb Event Center. The Bruins (2-19, 1-5 OVC) fell to visiting Jacksonville State (10-7, 4-1 OVC), 3-0.
After an opening service ace by sophomore Peyton Kelley (Normal, Il.), the Gamecocks jumped out to an early lead at the top of the first set behind at 6-1 run, pulling ahead, 10-3. Jacksonville State was able to expand its lead to double digits, 17-7, by the midpoint of the frame. BU collected its 10th point of the set, thanks to a kill by junior Mackenzie LePage (Franklin, Tenn.). Despite another kill from LePage down the stretch, the Gamecocks took the first set, 25-12.
Belmont rebounded at the start of the second set with kills by sophomore Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.) and senior Huntir Bass (Mobile, Ala.) combined with JSU errors to open with a 4-0 run. Jacksonville State steadily chipped away at the Bruin lead, finally knotting the score, 11-11. BU used kills from junior MacKenzie Harless (Brownsburg, Ind.), sophomore Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) and Ball to put distance between the teams again. The Gamecocks used a 3-0 run to grab a slim 19-18 lead, forcing the Bruins to call for a huddle session. However, the Bruins fired back and regained the lead after a service ace and a kill by freshman Lauren Walsh (Torrance, Calif.). Jacksonville State used a 3-0 flurry to reach set point but the Bruins battled back to within one, 24-23. This time, it would be JSU calling for a timeout and came out of the break able to snag the final point to win the set, 25-23.
Set three saw the score fall into five early stalemates before junior Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) notched a service ace to put the Bruins ahead, 7-6. Jacksonville State clawed back and gained a three-point advantage and never looked back. Belmont was able to get as close as two points but the Gamecocks powered through to secure the 25-16 win.
For the match, Walsh led the Bruins with seven kills, followed by Floyd and Ball with six apiece. Sophomore Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) finished with 22 assists. Floyd and Walsh also led BU in digs, each recording eight.
Belmont returns to action on Friday, October 18 with a stop on the road at Murray State. First serve is set for 6 p.m. CT. Live stats will be available and the contest can be seen live on ESPN+. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-game updates.