NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It is early in the season, but Kaycee Green and Lauren Ford are quickly establishing their roles for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team.
Saturday night at Allen Arena Ford and Green tied for the match lead in kills with 12 apiece in a 3-0 loss to Missouri in the second round of the Lipscomb Invitational. Earlier in the day the Lady Bisons beat Appalachian State 3-0.
Heading into Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game with Houston on the final day of the event, the Lady Bisons are 1-4 on the young season.
Green combined for 27 kills for the day with 15 in the match with Appalachian State. She has 1,025 kills for her career as a Lady Bison. Rosenthal is not expecting her to be the kills leader in each match. He is, however, looking for a consistent effort in each match.
“Kaycee was awesome,” Rosenthal said. “She did an even-paced job. She played some good defense. She made some plays. That is really what we want.”
Ford, a sophomore, added 13 digs, one short of tying her career high, for a double-double. Ford has been a dominant force since the start of the season. Rosenthal likes the fact that Ford is starting to take control on the court.
“We are starting to see Lauren really grow,” Rosenthal said. “She is moving pieces around on the court, giving encouragement after timeouts or saying, `hey, I’ve got this next ball’.
“We realized that Lauren had another level to her game. We are starting to see that.”
Also in double figures in digs for Lipscomb were Stephanie Rex with a match-high 17 and Caitlin Dotson with 13.
Missouri, 5-1, was paced by Lisa Henning with 12 kills and Taylor Simpson with 10. Molly Kreklow led the team in digs with 13. Jade Hayes finished with 10.
The Lady Bisons lost 25-21 in the first set, 25-19 in the second and 25-15 in the third. Rosenthal’s teams always face challenges from top teams in the non-conference schedule. He admits they learned some lessons against Missouri.
“It was missed opportunities,” Rosenthal said. “I thought we did a nice job of really competing but we just had some bad timing. That is not on anybody but us. Our passing was so-so at best. We have to clean up our game and not make as many errors as we did.
“It’s just a matter of continuing to get better. When we play good teams we have to make those opportunities count. All-in-all I thought our girls did a nice job early in the match. We will grow from that.”
Rosenthal was pleased with the attitude of his Lady Bisons against a taller Missouri team.
“I felt really comfortable in set one,” Rosenthal said. “It was not like we were over-matched…not like we were an underdog.
“It was just two teams playing volleyball. I never once thought to myself, `oh, my goodness, this is Missouri’. I didn’t think about how tall they were.”
There was an enthusiastic crowd of 458 fans in attendance. Rosenthal was happy to see a strong turnout.
“It is awesome to have Missouri come into our gym,” Rosenthal said. “The crowd was phenomenal.”
Houston enters Saturday's match with the Lady Bisons with a 0-5 record. Rosenthal isn’t paying any attention to Houston’s past performances.
“Houston is going to be tough,” Rosenthal said. “I can’t imagine they are not going to be ready to fight. We have to be ready to play. We have to continue to push.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations for Athletics.