The Lipscomb Lady Bisons challenged one of the best teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference to play an extra match this season and they came away with not only a win, but early knowledge of an opponent they will face again.
The Lady Bisons swept Florida Gulf Coast 3-0 Sunday afternoon at Allen Arena. The match will not count in the A-Sun standings. The official conference game between the Lady Bisons and Florida Gulf Coast will be played Nov. 5 in Fort Myers, Fla.
The set scores were 25-22, 25-22 and 25-13.
Between sets two and three the Lady Bisons looked at the numbers. They had a .323 hitting percentage in set on and .421 hitting percentage in set two, but did not dominate play in either one.
“Florida Gulf Coast is a good team that is very well-coached and will be there at the end,” Lady Bisons ‘ coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “In the first two sets we didn’t play particularly well.
“We had great numbers, so we had to ask ourselves what were we not doing? We didn’t pass well. We didn’t give the defensive effort I thought we needed to give. We didn’t move our feet. The third set was more indicative of our style of play and what we are capable of doing."
Saturday afternoon Florida Gulf Coast lost the first two sets to Belmont and came back to win the match with three straight set wins.
“We struggled and really limited our options in the first two sets,” Rosenthal said. “But I thought we did a nice job in set three as far as executing.
“We noted the Belmont match. We have to understand that is a possibility against any good team. But when you have what appears to be an insurmountable lead it is a lack of focus to not beat a team. If you have a 2-0 lead you have to finish it.”
The Lady Bisons have swept their last two matches, including a 3-0 win at Austin Peay Tuesday. They have won eight matches by 3-0 scores.
Outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer led the way for the Lady Bisons with a match high 17 kills. She just missed a double-double with nine digs.
“Meghan was coming off a shoulder injury to start the season,” Rosenthal said. “The first few weeks she was a little tentative and now we are seeing her start to come back.
“We told her early on to hang in there. Now she is becoming stronger and stronger.”
Also in double figures in kills were middle blocker Alex Kelly with 14 and outside hitter Kaycee Green with 13.
Kelly also fell short of a double-double with nine digs, tying Hinemeyer for the team match high.
Holly Youngquist made a match-high 11 digs for Florida Gulf Coast. No Florida Gulf Coast player finished in double figures in kills.
The Lady Bisons finished with a .371 hitting percentage. Hinemeyer's hitting percentage was .533 and Green's was .500.
Setter Stefine "Jake" Pease made 44 assists for the Lady Bisons.
“Jake did a tremendous job,” Rosenthal said. “When we weren’t passing well she gave really good sets to our outside hitters. Our outside hitters really bailed us out making some tough plays in the first two sets.
“It’s great to see that. And then all of a sudden when we do start passing well our middles start to get going and we become really dangerous.”
Middle blocker Katie Rose played a larger role than she has in the last few matches as she recovers from an ankle injury. She had three kills and seven digs.
“Katie was ready to go Tuesday against Austin Peay but we decided to hold her out because we didn’t think it was the right time,” Rosenthal said. “Claire Peterson has done a great job there, but it is Katie’s position.
“Katie is a tough kid. We have to work her back in. We have to find the explosiveness she was playing with. I think this weekend she will be a lot better than she was in this game.”
The Lady Bisons are 11-5. Florida Gulf Coast is 3-11.
Friday night at 6:30 the Lady Bisons will open A-Sun play against Mercer. Saturday at 2 p.m. the Lady Bisons will play Kennesaw State.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.