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ETSU (11-6, 5-0 A-Sun)
Lipscomb (9-6, 3-2 A-Sun)
10/5/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 254
Saturday, October 05, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was more like a prize fight than a volleyball match.
It was like the old heavyweight fights where the two sweat-drenched and sometimes bloody challengers went toe-to-toe with the win going to the last fighter standing.
“That’s what we talked about going into the match,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “We knew it was going to be like that. We basically went punch-for-punch.”
Lipscomb and ETSU both left it all on the court Saturday afternoon in an Atlantic Sun match at Allen Arena. There has to be a winner and that was ETSU taking a 3-2 victory. The Lady Bisons lost the match, but they won in so many ways as well.
ETSU won set one 25-22 with the Lady Bisons bouncing back to take set two 25-20. The Lady Bisons then lost 25-23 in set three before taking over in set four for a 25-16 win. ETSU erased the Lady Bisons 8-5 lead to take a 15-13 win and the match in the fifth set.
“That last play was exactly what we wanted with our best player (Jewell Dobson) going up against their best player (Megan Devine),” Rosenthal said. “Sometimes this game is cruel. It is a matter of inches and ETSU made a nice play.
“I thought we did a great job. In the end it was a matter of two points. It is hard to talk about the fifth set other than the final score. It was point here and a point there. There is an old adage in volleyball that once two equal teams get to the fifth set it can go either way.”
ETSU is 11-6 overall, 5-0 in the conference. The Purple and Gold slipped to 9-6, 3-2 in the A-Sun.
“I can’t say enough about what our girls did as a whole in the match,” Rosenthal said. “Outside of the first set they played fantastic.”
In the first set the Lady Bisons made four service errors which were crucial to the outcome.
“We were trying to serve with a little more pace,” Rosenthal said. “But we weren’t doing that and we were serving out. We knew coming into the match the plan was to serve a little bit tougher.
“We wanted to create a little bit more confusion with our serves. If a player has to take a step back to pass it makes it tougher. I thought we did a great job all match with it outside of that first set.”
Middle blocker Jewell Dobson continues to be the leader for the Lady Bisons posting a career-high 27 kills. She also had a team-high .447 hitting percentage. It was her 12th match high in kills, including one tie.
Outside hitter Lauren Ford made a season high 21 kills. Outside hitter Claire Peterson chipped in with a career high 12 kills.
“Claire came up huge and had a great match,” Rosenthal said. “We needed her. The momentum and fire that she brought was great.
“Lauren probably played her best match. Her serving was big. Her defense was good and her passing was great. That is great to see. As the season progresses it is good to her get really into the swing of things. Lauren and Jewell are two best attackers and they did a nice job.”
Caitlin “Dot” Dotson made a career-best 63 assists.
Defensively, libero Bri McCombs made a match high 20 digs, her eighth match high of the season which includes two ties. Outside hitter Sophie Kellerman added 10 digs.
Megan Devine led ETSU with 18 kills Ivey Rice added 12 and Bethany Gesell chipped in with 11.
Katie Muey made 18 digs and Rice completed the double-double with 12 digs.
The Lady Bisons held the advantage in hitting percentage, kills, assists and digs.
“That’s the hardest part right now,” Rosenthal said. “When your team plays this hard and plays this well you want them to come up on the winning side.
“Our girls gave everything they had and did everything they were supposed to do. It is part of sports. We didn’t back down one bit. It was two good teams playing and one team had to win.”
The Lady Bisons are back in action Tuesday night as the home stand continues at Allen Arena. Northern Kentucky will visit at 6:30 p.m.
“We need to use this fire and continue to grow with it,” Rosenthal said. “Our girls are strong-minded. Our girls will understand this.
“Coaches are partial to their teams. We showed a lot of guts and showed a lot of moxie.”