Nashville might be known as Music City, USA, but if Belmont and Lipscomb continue their dominance in the Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship, the town might be due for a new nickname. The Bruins and Lady Bisons have combined to win the past four A-Sun titles with Lipscomb claiming last year’s crown and Belmont was the victor in 2008.
After Belmont took down the Mercer Bears in the opening match of the A-Sun Championship, 3-1, behind the performances of A-Sun All-Conference members Kayla Albritton and Maggie Johnson, the Bruins face their crosstown rival for the third time this season, after falling to the Lady Bisons in the first two matchups.
“The game with Lipscomb is exciting because each time we have faced them the winner of that match has gone on to win the tournament title,” Bruins head coach Deane Webb said of the rivalry. “That is exciting for our region, for Nashville and for Middle Tennessee to know that our area can sustain and support two quality programs.”
The Bruins and Lady Bisons now square off against one another for the fifth-straight A-Sun Championship on Friday at 5 p.m. in the semifinal. Each team has claimed two victories during that time span, but Lipscomb holds a 2-1 advantage in semifinal matches.
“What impresses me most about Lipscomb is their low errors because they really make you earn your points against them,” Webb stated. “We are going to need to put an entire match together in order to be successful against Lipscomb.”
The Lady Bisons enter the tournament as the clear favorite after sweeping through the conference regular season at 10-0, which included a 3-1 victory against the Bruins in the season finale. The two teams also met in the non-conference ending with the same result.
“I’m excited to face off with Lipscomb,” junior outside hitter Maggie Johnson added. “I think our whole team is (excited) because we feel as if we need that challenge of facing them in this tournament and we will need to play great defense in order to beat them.”
No matter what the outcome on Saturday, the Fort Myers crowd is likely to see a great match as Lipscomb enters the match with a 13-game winning streak and Belmont has recorded seven victories in the past nine matches.