|September 18, 2013||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
JULIAN - 9
RUBLE - 2
JULIAN - 2
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – If you have a good game plan, then you stick with it.
That’s exactly what the Lipscomb Lady Bisons did against Northern Kentucky in the Atlantic Sun opener for both teams Wednesdaynight. The Lady Bisons swept the match by scores of 25-23, 25-19 and 25-22 at Regents Hall.
“I thought we really settled in game plan-wise in the second set,” Rosenthal said. “It took us until the end of the first set to really understand what Northern Kentucky was doing. We nailed down each of their rotations. The girls, at that point, really stepped it up a notch.”
The Lady Bisons are 7-3 overall, 1-0 in the conference. Northern Kentucky is 4-6, 0-1 in the A-Sun.
“It is a tough thing to win a mid-week game,” Rosenthal said. “It was nice to get it out of the way.
“We talk about embracing the grind of travel and being on the road. We know we are always going to get the other team’s best. I am proud of our girls for stepping up to it.”
Nationally, the Lady Bisons entered the Northern Kentucky match as the leader in kills per set with 16.07. They surpassed that stat against the Norse with an average of 16.3 per set.
Middle blocker Jewell Dobson led with a match-high 14 kills and .385 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle added 11 kills with a .429 hitting percentage.
Setter Caitlin “Dot” Dotson, No. 2 in the country in assists per set heading into the match with 12.76, finished with 43, an average of 14.3 per set.
Rosenthal doesn’t discuss the national rankings with his players, but he admits he likes to see Lipscomb’s name near the top.
“We don’t talk a lot about it because we can’t do anything about it,” Rosenthal said. “All we can do is go out and play our game. We can’t worry about how many kills we have or whatever.
“Our job is to score more points than the other team. It is great because it puts things in perspective with what our volleyball program is doing on a national scale. Our goal is to win matches and the national stats are a good by-product of it.”
Libero Bri McCombs posted a match-high 13 digs and added two service aces. Outside hitter Sophie Kellerman was credited with 11 digs.
The Lady Bisons finished with 54 digs, 13 more than Northern Kentucky.
“Our defense as a whole did a fantastic job,” Rosenthal said. “Bri was great. Stephanie Rex was tremendous at the end of the third set with some huge plays. Sophie was huge.
“We had more digs than a team that makes its living on digging. That was pretty impressive. The third set was just dominated by our defense. We had a three-point lead and Northern Kentucky came back, but our defense hung tough. I really liked what I saw.”
The Lady Bisons offense flows through the defensive efforts of the team.
“The idea behind the defense is to create offense,” Rosenthal said. “It is one thing to get digs. It is another thing to do something with those digs. We work really hard at doing that.”
Freshman setter Kayla Ostrom just missed double figures in digs with nine. Her most impressive stat was a season-high four service aces.
Three of Ostrom’s aces were served in the second set and turned the momentum to the Lady Bisons.
“I thought our serving in the first set was not good,” Rosenthal said. “I encouraged our girls to do better serving and that really changed the match.
“Kayla played a nice all-around match. She played great defense. She added a kill. That’s what we need is players like her to come in and really step up and do their jobs. She did a fantastic job.”
No Northern Kentucky players finished in double figures in kills. Ann Prickel led the Norse with 12 digs.
The Lady Bisons face Kentucky from the Southeastern Conference Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3. The goal is to have at least 2,000 fans in Allen Arena to see the Lady Bisons battle one of the top 20 programs in the country.