|September 21, 2013||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
DOBSON - 1
ESTES - 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was a day of loss in many ways for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team.
First, they lost middle blocker Molly Spitznagle to an ankle injury at the end of early warm-ups. Second, as the match with Kentucky progressed the Lady Bisons lost their focus, but not their fierceness. And in the end they lost the match 3-0 by scores of 25-23, 25-17 and 25-9 in front of 1,321 fans at Allen Arena Saturday afternoon.
The loss dropped the Lady Bisons to 7-4 overall. Kentucky, ranked No. 19 in the nation, is 7-3.
“It was an opportunity to present ourselves and we wanted to be at full strength,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “But due to an unfortunate circumstance we weren’t.
“But I loved what our team did. I would like to focus on what we will learn from this and what will come from this. It is not a season-ending loss, but more importantly it becomes what do we do now?”
The Lady Bisons have never beaten a top 20 team. Despite the outcome against Kentucky Rosenthal is confident that his players will soon add that accomplishment to their resumes.
“We played hard and came up short,” Rosenthal said. “Obviously, we want that win. If we keep working the way we do we will get it.
“I loved our fight all the way through. We lost some focus and that is something we can change. But being able to fight…you either have it or you don’t. “
Spitznagle has an apparent ankle injury, but her diagnosis is not known. Rosenthal stresses that injuries are a part of any sport and that his team has been lucky in that area.
“It was pretty routine what we were doing in the workout,” Rosenthal said. “In volleyball these things are going to happen. It is nobody’s fault.
“Everyone deals with injuries. No one is going to feel bad for us. You have to give our girls a ton of credit to come out and play like they did in the first set right after Molly’s injury happened. “
Rosenthal plans to take a team approach in replacing Spitznagle’s production. She was second in the Atlantic Sun Conference with a .356 hitting percentage. She has posted 94 kills.
“This is the reason why we have 15 girls on the team,” Rosenthal said. “Team volleyball is what we do best. I don’t fear that wait until Molly gets back. We have quality girls that will get the job done. I have no doubt we are going to pull through.
“We have to do a good bit of changing in the lineup. We had been pushing for Molly to grow in confidence and she has. She was a dominant force in the last tournament we were in. It stinks for her. But we realize how big Molly is going to be for us, not just down the road this year, but in future years.”
Freshman middle blocker Katie Bradley played in all three sets for the first time in a match this season. Bradley will be seeing more reps both in practice and in matches.
“It is all hands on deck at this point,” Rosenthal said. “Katie Bradley got an opportunity and I would imagine she is saying she has a lot to learn.
“I think this can have a good effect on us as a team. Katie Bradley has game experience. She will continue to have more and more game experience so when we do call on her she is going to be ready to go.”
Lipscomb middle blocker Jewell Dobson made a match-high 12 kills. Libero Bri McCombs led the Lady Bisons with seven digs.
Defensive specialist Jackie Napper posted a match-high 11 digs for Kentucky.
Kentucky was the last non-conference match of the regular season for the Purple and Gold. They put their 1-0 A-Sun record on the line this weekend as they travel to Florida to face Jacksonville Sept. 27 and North Florida Sept. 28.
“We have another 17 matches of conference play ahead of us and that is the most important thing,” Rosenthal said. “A lot of people will want to focus on the disappointment of losing to Kentucky.
“The challenges we faced against Kentucky are going to make us better –they have to make us better. We have to do a little bit more work and make some more adjustments. The girls will be ready to go. The coaching staff is going to be ready to go. We will move forward.”