MURRAY, Ky. -- Belmont Volleyball fell behind early and was unable to recover on the road Friday evening at Murray State. The Bruins (2-20, 1-6 OVC) fell to Murray State (11-6, 5-2 OVC), 3-0.
The first set was marked by numerous long rallies, punctuated with kills by sophomore Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) and junior MacKenzie Harless (Brownsburg, Ind.) and Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas), that saw the Bruins battle to remain within striking distance early. Murray State pulled ahead 14-8 after back-to-back kills and Belmont called for its first huddle session. BU used back-to-back kills by Floyd to close the scoring gap to just three points, 19-16. However, MSU continued to add on points down the stretch. The Racers moved to set point but the Bruins surged again behind kills by Mary Catherine Ball (Hendersonville, N.C.) and freshman Lauren Walsh (Torrance, Calif.). The Racers were able to add the set winning point and take the frame, 25-19.
The Bruins kept the second frame tight from the opening whistle, going on to knot the score seven times, including at 17-17, thanks to consecutive kills by Harless and Floyd. Each attempt by the Racers to pull ahead saw Belmont battle back with a vengeance. Murray State used a 3-0 run to grab a slim 20-17 lead but it was enough to see the Bruins call for a timeout to strategize. After the brief break, the Racers quickly added four more points to pull ahead, 23-18. A kill by Ball would be the final one for Belmont as MSU took the set with an identical score, 25-19.
The Racers jumped out to a fast start at the top of the third stanza, taking an 8-3 lead. Belmont called for a huddle session but the break in the action did not slow Murray State down. MSU was able to blow its lead up to double digits, 16-6, forcing the Bruins to burn their second timeout. Belmont worked but could not find a way to overcome the sizeable lead late and fell, 25-9.
For the match, BU was led in kills by Floyd, who tallied 11. Classmate Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) recorded 14 assists while Peyton Kelley (Normal, Ill.) finished with eight digs. Van Poppel and Floyd each logged a service ace in the effort.
Belmont returns to action on Saturday afternoon, wrapping its road swing at in-state rival Austin Peay. First serve is set for 2 p.m. 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.