NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Despite another strong start, Belmont Volleyball was unable to pick up the win on Monday evening in the Curb Event Center. The Bruins (0-4) were held off by Southeast Missouri State (4-2), 3-1.
The Bruins opened the first set on fire, outpacing the Redhawks 8-1 thanks to a series of attack errors by the visitors. The stunned SEMO bench called timeout to regroup and came out hot. Southeast Missouri State attempted to use a 5-0 flurry to make up ground but the effort only cut the point differential in half, 10-5. Belmont continued to roll through the midpoint of the set but SEMO notched four quick points to trim the gap to four points, 19-15. A pair of kills by sophomore Laura Shoopman (Salem, Wisc.) forced the Redhawks to burn their final timeout. The attack errors that plagued SEMO early returned and helped Belmont close the frame with a 3-0 flurry to win the set, 25-18.
In the second stanza, BU came out hot once again but the Redhawks were able to knot the score, 4-4. SEMO used a 5-0 run to take it first lead of the match, 9-5, but it was short lived as the teams fell into a heavy back and forth battle. The teams were stalemated five times before Southeast Missouri State grabbed a one-point advantage after the media break, 15-14. Belmont emerged from the pause point hungry. An ace by freshman Rachel McBride (Decatur, Ind.) tied the set, 19-19. Belmont remained within striking distance down the stretch but the Redhawks were able to add six more points to take the set, 25-21.
SEMO opened the third frame with six consecutive points, forcing the Bruins to burn a timeout to regroup. BU was finally able to add its first two points of the set, thanks to kills by freshman Kristen Clemons (Louisville, Ky.) and sophomore Kailee Bass (Aurora, Ill.). The Redhawks did not let up and were able to build a double-digit lead, 14-4, spurred by a 3-0 flurry. Southeast Missouri State would not relinquish its large lead down the stretch, holding off BU to win the frame, 25-9.
Set four saw the teams fall back into their back and forth battle pattern that marked earlier sets. The Redhawks were able to build a 10-4 lead behind a 6-0 run. Belmont dug in and exploded behind its own 3-0 flurry behind kills by Shoopman and freshman Ally Peterson (Kenyon, Minn.) to narrow the scoring differential to just three points, 14-11. However, SEMO was able to post its 15th point to send the teams into the media break and did not let up after the pause in action on the floor. Southeast Missouri State used another flurry to pull ahead, 21-13. Late kills by Shoopman, Peterson and junior Taylor Floyd (Louisville, Ky.) were not enough to close the gap and BU fell, 25-17.
For the match, Shoopman recorded a match-high 17 kills and 10 kills for her first double-double of the season. Junior Carly Mason (Forsyth, Ill.) logged 33 assists while McBride finished with 16 digs.
Belmont returns to action on Wednesday, February 24 with a doubleheader on the road at UT Martin. The original meeting between the programs was postponed due to weather. Live stats will be available for both matches and the matches can be seen live on ESPN+. Fans may also follow the team's Twitter account (@BelmontVB) for live, in-match updates.