Belmont volleyball perfect in division play

By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

NEW ALBANY – Belmont’s volleyball team seems to enjoy living on the edge.

At least their coach, Reid Gann, thinks so.

Thursday night, he watched his cardiac Lady Cardinals rally to capture a crucial Class I, Division 1 road victory, 3-1, against New Albany.

“We always start out slow, then come storming back,” Gann said. “We stayed the course tonight; we kept fighting. We got momentum on our side.”

The win upped Belmont’s overall record to 14-2 and its division record to 5-0 with one league match remaining – Oct. 1 at Corinth.

New Albany (5-6, 1-3) won the first game 25-23, then led 23-19 in the second game before falling 28-16. Belmont swept the final two games 25-11 and 25-20 to win the match.

Belmont exchange student and outside hitter Irene Oppi produced some key shots for the Lady Cardinals in the pivotal second game.

“We lost our concentration in the first game,” said Oppi, a native of Italy. “In the second set we started to play really well. We worked as a team and we worked for a win.

“We’re happy we’ve won all our division games.”

The Cardinals took control of the match in the third game, cruising to a 25-11 decision. Tori Powers, a junior setter, had four service aces early to help Belmont race to a 10-1 lead.

Belmont rallied from a 21-16 deficit in the second game to take a 28-26 win. Oppi scored seven points for the Cardinals, including three on service aces.

Bulldogs rally

New Albany trailed by as many as five points in the first game, but rallied to take a 25-23 win. Erin Michael’s return shot on an attempted kill was a key late and gave the Bulldogs a 24-22 lead.

“In that second game we made error after error,” New Albany coach Shay Ashford said. “Belmont’s good. They’re fundamentally sound.”

gene.phelps@journalinc.com