From Belmont Athletics
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With the whole of the Curb Event Center on its feet cheering, the Belmont Volleyball team (7-4, 1-0 OVC) was lifted to its first Ohio Valley Conference win of the season. The Bruins pushed back against a fiesty Tennessee State (7-7, 0-1 OVC) squad to win in three sets, 3-0.
The Bruins got off to a hot start against their crosstown rival, pulling away 11-5, and forcing Tennessee State to burn a timeout early. The point onslaught continued with BU going up by as many as eight, 15-7, punctuated with a kill by sophomore Maggie Mullins (Nashville, Tenn.). The team was able to maintain the eight point difference through the midpoint of the set. TSU called timeout after Belmont went up, 21-11, but it did little to halt the momentum. The Bruins went on to take the set, 25-13.
Back-to-back kills by junior Arianna Person (Lenexa, Kan.) and a service ace by classmate Emma Price (Fort Mill, S.C.) was enough to put BU on top early, 5-2, in the second frame. After rolling off five straight points, the Bruins continued to cruise with its huge lead, going up by as many as seven, 16-9.
Belmont continued to press and went up, 20-13, before the Tigers called timeout again. Suddenly, Tennessee State put together a late rally and closed the gap to as few as two points, 24-22. However, a shallow kill by Price sealed the set, 25-22.
The Tigers came out swinging in set three, tallying three consecutive kills to go up, 4-1. After calling timeout, Belmont battled back and closed the difference to just two points, 11-9, forcing Tennessee State to call timeout. After seven ties, the Bruins were able to pull ahead, 19-17, before the Tigers called for their final timeout of the set.
BU was the first to reach 20 points but the Tigers kept battling back and tied to set at both 20 and 21. An insane back and forth battle ensued that had all of those in attendance on their feet. The set got to a 25-25 stalemate before TSU went up by one and Belmont called a timeout. The brief break was all the Bruins needed to seal the deal. After breaking a 26-26 tie with a solid block at the net by sophomore Courtlyn Ison (Ooltewah, Tenn.) and junior Brie Lewis (Stillwell, Kan.), Person delivered an ace deep into the back line to secure the 28-26 win.
Person led with a match-high 16 kills and was one dig shy of a double-double with nine. Price notched a double-double with a match-high 37 assists and 10 digs.