CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. -- After falling behind, Belmont Volleyball was moments away from forcing extra sets to decide its contest on the road at Austin Peay on Saturday afternoon. The Bruins (2-21, 1-7 OVC) fell to the Governors, 3-0.
The first set was a quick, back and forth battle from the first whistle. The Govs were able to maintain a two-point differential early until they grabbed a 12-8 lead, pushing the Bruins to call for a huddle session. Austin Peay went on to expand its lead to seven, 17-10, and used kills by juniors MacKenzie Harless (Brownsburg, Ind.) and Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas) to begin to close the gap. Austin Peay built and maintained a five-point lead for the remainder of the set despite BU picking up kills from sophomore Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.), Van Poppel and freshman Lauren Walsh (Torrance, Calif). Despite late kills from Walsh and Floyd, the Bruins were held off, 25-17.
Austin Peay jumped out early in the top of the second stanza behind a 5-0 run, looking to gain control early. The Bruins answered back with a 3-0 run, capped with a combined block by Harless and Van Poppel, to close the gap to four points, 11-7. BU continued making moves through the midpoint of the set, looking to close the point differential. However, APSU was able to put together a 7-1 scoring run to put the set out of reach for good, 25-14.
The Bruins came out hot to open the third frame, with a 5-1 push to start. However, the Govs were able to grab a one-point lead, 6-5, forcing the Bruins to burn one of their timeouts. After the brief break in the action, Belmont came storming back and knotted the score, 9-9, before taking the lead behind a block by Harless and Floyd. All told, Belmont used an 8-1 run to pull ahead, 14-10, pushing Austin Peay to call for its first timeout of the entire match. Soon, APSU was able to knot the score, 18-18.
The score would be tied up three more times before Austin Peay put two points between the teams, 23-21. BU called for its final huddle session of the frame and came out with a kill by Harless to move the Bruins to within one. The Govs moved to match point but the Bruins continued to fight. Unfortunately, a late kill by Van Poppel would not be enough as APSU went on to narrowly take the set, 25-23.
For the match, junior Halee Van Poppel (Argyle, Texas) finished with 10 kills. She also notched a double-double with a match-high 13 digs, matching her season best output. Sophomore Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) and junior Akia Warrior (Fort Worth, Texas) posted 17 and 14 assists, respectively. Freshman Lauren Walsh (Torrance, Calif.) picked up her first career solo block while junior MacKenzie Harless (Brownsburg, Ind.) recorded a match-high four block assists.
Belmont returns to action on October 25 in the Curb Event Center, hosting UT Martin. First serve is set for 6 p.m. Live stats will be available. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@belmontvb) for live, in-game updates.