|August 30, 2014||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
McCombs - 2
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team fought off a determined Utah Valley team for a 3-1 match win to close out the Kansas Invitational and give coach Brandon Rosenthal his 200th career victory.
Rosenthal has photos of his first and 100th victories on his office walls. He has to make room for this milestone.
“It is fantastic,” Rosenthal said. “I have invested a lot of time and energy into this.
“I am excited we did it with this group. This group is going to be something special. I am most proud because this program continues to go to new heights.”
The Lady Bisons posted a win over No. 22 Kansas, the tournament host, and lost to No. 23 Creighton Friday.
Saturday morning the Lady Bisons opened with a 25-23 victory over Utah Valley in set one. But Utah Valley, the loser of all three of its matches in the tournament, rallied in set two for a 25-23 win of its own. But the Lady Bisons came back from the match break to win set three 25-17 and set four 25-15.
Right outside hitter Brittnay Estes recorded 10 kills in the match to earn a spot on the Kansas Invitational All-Tournament Team.
Rosenthal admits that he was concerned about his players coming off of the late-night victory over Kansas Friday night which also marked the first win for the program over a ranked team.
“All things being equal I am not concerned about fatigue,” Rosenthal said. “I think our girls are well-conditioned. I think Will Osburn (strength and conditioning) and Kelsey Ferguson (trainer) do a great job in preparing our girls.
“But it wasn’t equal. You get a little nervous as the match progresses. We were a little slow and a little sluggish at times. They did a nice job of kicking it into the next gear.”
Rosenthal also had some concerns about a letdown after the signature win over Kansas.
“I think every coach is concerned in that situation,” Rosenthal said. “We weren’t back at the hotel until between 10:30 and 11. It’s a tricky spot to be in.”
Adding to the concern was that Utah Valley's Lauren Bakker had not played in any of her team's matches Friday.
“Bakker is their best player and she was fresh against us,” Rosenthal said. “We played nine sets and Utah Valley played six. We knew were in a tough spot.”
In set one the Lady Bisons jumped out to a 2-0 lead on back-to-back kills by Molly Spitznagle.
Utah Valley took the lead 7-6 and did not relinquish the advantage until an attack error gave the Lady Bisons a 15-14 lead. The two teams would tie at 16-16, but the Lady Bisons led the rest of the way holding off a late rally by Utah Valley.
In set two the Lady Bisons fell behind early before pulling ahead 15-14. The score was tied 23-23 before an error by Lipscomb and a kill gave Utah Valley the win.
“I felt really good in the second set going into the last couple of points,” Rosenthal said. “But we just lost our focus.
“Volleyball finds people who lose their focus. It was because of multiple people on the team. The hard part is staying mentally in the game.”
After the match break the Lady Bisons never trailed in sets three and four.
“We have talked so much about momentum,” Rosenthal said. “In the back of my mind we want to push, push, and push. You seldom let your foot off of the gas. But you are also trying to remain calm.”
The Lady Bisons are 2-1. Utah Valley is 0-3.
Outside hitter Lauren Ford posted a match-high 15 kills. Spitznagle added 10. Spitznagle’s hitting percentage was .562.
“Jewell didn’t play great, but Molly stepped up,” Rosenthal said. “Molly was the X-factor.
“We can utilize so many people. That is what makes this team special.”
Libero Bri McCombs led the Lady Bisons with 14 digs. Sophie Kellerman added 11.
Macky Treanor paced Utah Valley with 14 kills. Bakker added 13.
Quick hits: The Lady Bisons are 2-1 after the first three games of the season for the first time since 2010. They went on to finish with a 24-7 record, 12-0 in the A-Sun. They also won the A-Sun Tournament and a berth in the NCAA Tournament that season.
Middle blocker Jewell Dobson finished with nine kills. She had a match-high 20 against Kansas Friday night, the only match in the tournament where she was in double figures.
Three freshmen made appearances in the tournament. Chloe Rogers made her college debut in set one against Utah Valley. Jenny Phelan played against Kansas and Utah Valley. Brittany Thomas appeared in all three matches.
This was the first meeting between Lipscomb and Utah Valley in volleyball.
Next up: The Lady Bisons travel to Columbia, Missouri Sept. 5 and 6 for the Tiger Classic on the campus of Missouri. They play Missouri, ranked 15th in the AVCA Preseason Poll along with Oakland and Illinois State.