Oct. 21, 2005
The Lady Bisons volleyball team has now gone where none of the previous Lipscomb teams have ever gone before.
With a 3-1 match victory over visiting East Tennessee State Friday night at Allen Arena, the Lady Bisons won their 10th game, marking the first time the program has ever posted a double-figure victory total. The team has already surpassed last year's nine victories, the previous program high, with seven regular season matches still on the schedule.
The Lady Bisons lost the first game 31-29, but then came back to win the next three by scores of 30-24, 30-23 and 30-28.
A rowdy crowd of 234 fans cheered on the Lady Bisons to their second straight match victory and their seventh in their last eight matches.
"The fan support was great," said Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal. "We have been working to try to get people out to our games. It is great they are coming to some games. Our players really enjoy the support."
In game one the Lady Bisons spotted East Tennessee State at 7-1 lead before starting their comeback. They scored five unanswered points to cut the lead to 7-6. East Tennessee State made it 8-6, but the Lady Bisons came back to tie the game at 8-8.
The rest of the game was a back-and-forth affair with 12 ties and 10 lead changes. Sparked by the play of Jennifer Emerson and Sarah Buhr, East Tennessee State held on for the victory.
"We had a little bit of a slow start in the first game," said Rosenthal. "After watching two or three plays I told our players it was going to be a battle. I knew ETSU was going to be very tough, but we settled down. I told our players we couldn't worry about being down a couple of points, and that we had to take advantage when we were up a couple of points. It was a great volleyball game."
In game two the Lady Bisons also started behind. They fought back quickly tying the game at 5-5 and taking their first lead at 6-5 on a kill by Jessica Turner.
Both teams worked to keep the game close with the scored tied at 18-18. When a kill shot by Lindsey Rutherford gave the Lady Bisons a 19-18 lead they kept moving forward and refused to relinquish the lead again. Their biggest lead down the stretch run was six points at 27-21 and again with the game-winning margin.
Game three started out close with the Lady Bisons taking the lead a 9-8 lead on a kill by Alex Scruggs. They never looked back, opening up a seven-point lead at 27-20, with the margin of victory matching the game-high lead.
"We have been working for the past couple of weeks with learning to play with a lead," Rosenthal said. "In practice we will set the score at 26-23 and let both teams play.
The Lady Bisons rolled out to a 7-1 lead in game four and never trailed. East Tennessee State chipped away at the lead, tying the game at 26-26.before the Lady Bisons took over again. The winning point came on a block by Catherine Johnson.
"It was great that we won the match on a block,' Rosenthal said. "I can't say enough about our blocking. I was joking with the team before the match started that the stat crew didn't know where the block button was because they never have to push it."
The Lady Bisons finished with a season-high 15 blocks with Johnson getting seven block assists.
"Catherine is not a huge stat person," Rosenthal said. "She just comes out and works hard no matter what. For the last two years she had not played very much. Now she starts. I can't say enough about Catherine as both a person and a player."
Cara Wilber posted a double-double with a match-high 21 kills and 10 digs for the Lady Bisons. Ann Mullins added a match-high 22 digs. Rutherford finished with 15 kills and Scruggs chipped in with 11 and a .320 hitting percentage.
"We are a team, not individuals," Rosenthal said. "I ask a lot of our players and not just when they play volleyball. Our main rule is that they make sure they are doing things right."
Rosenthal was also pleased with the play of Samantha Sullivan who finished with six digs and also set up the offensive side of the game.
"Sam is cagey," Rosenthal said. "That's a beach volleyball term. She did a wonderful job on offense and a great job on defense. She goes out and gets it done."
East Tennessee State was led by Jennifer Sartor with 18 kills. Buhr posted a double-double with 15 kills and 11 digs. Callie Kiselich also recorded a double-double with 10 kills and a team-high 18 digs. Emerson added 15 digs and Brittany Kessel had 13.
The Lady Bisons, 5-1 in the conference with Florida Atlantic visiting Saturday at 3 p.m., edged closer to their first ever berth in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. The top six teams in the conference qualify.
The Lady Bisons are 10-14 overall. East Tennessee State is 15-8, 2-3 in the A-Sun.