|September 06, 2014||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||Final|
COLUMBIA, Mo. – It was a great match for his team, but not so great for Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal’s heart.
Saturday night the Lady Bisons closed out the Tiger Invitational at the University of Missouri with a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Illinois State at the Hearnes Center.
“This was a match with two teams battling as hard as they could,” Rosenthal said. “They put us to the test the way they played, how physical they were and how they played defensively.
“This is a pretty special win. I am proud of the team.”
The Lady Bisons are 5-1 on the year. They finished the tournament with a 3-0 record and have won their last five matches in a row. Illinois State slips to 3-4.
The Lady Bisons won set one 25-22 and then lost the next two sets. They fell 25-12 in set two and 25-23 in set three.
“We were up 23-21 in set three and ended up losing,” Rosenthal said. “That was the hardest part. It was mental mistakes. It was a little bit of lackadaisical play. We didn’t take care of the ball. Against a good team you are going to pay for it.”
But the Lady Bisons refused to lose winning set four 25-20 and overcoming a 5-1 Illinois State lead in set five for a 15-13 win.
“I thought our girls were fantastic in staying the course,” Rosenthal said. “I thought early on in set five the girls were hesitant. They didn’t go for it. They were playing not to lose.
“I was imploring them to go for it. I didn’t want to have to say what if.”
One of the keys for the Lady Bisons in the fifth set was the play of redshirt freshman Kaitlyn Teeter who had three of her five match kills in the set.
“What a fantastic performance by her,” Rosenthal said.
Outside hitter Lauren Ford led the way for the Lady Bisons with a match-high 24 kills, a season high and one short of tying her career high.
Right side Brittnay Estes had a career-high 19 kills for the Lady Bisons. Estes also posted a double-double with 15 digs, also a career high.
Estes and Ford combined to give the Lipscomb the final offensive push in set five. Estes pulled the Lady Bisons within one at 13-12 and Ford tied the set at 13-13 with a kill. An attack error by Illinois State set the stage for the match point with Molly Spitznagle in position for the winning kill.
“We tell them to be in position and make themselves available,” Rosenthal said. “It was awesome.”
Setter Kayla Ostrom made 52 assists, her first match with more than 50 in her career. Her 15 digs were also a career high.
“Kayla is just a sophomore and she is going through this for the first time,” Rosenthal said. “She is doing a fantastic job.
“There were points in the match where she wasn’t doing her best. I just looked at her and said, `hey, it’s O.K. so let’s keep going’.”
Libero Bri McCombs made a match-high 23 digs. Sophie Kellerman added 12 digs.
“All around I think we learned a lot about ourselves,” Rosenthal said. “It is nice to learn some things about yourselves and still get a win.”
The Lady Bisons have won two 3-2 matches this season, including a win over then No. 22-ranked Kansas Aug. 29.
The 5-1 start is the best after six matches in the NCAA era. The Lady Bisons were 4-2 after six matches in both 2010 and 2013.
Ford is averaging 4.28 kills per set. She has been in double figures in kills in all six matches and has back-to-back matches with 22 or more.
Estes has posted double-doubles against Illinois State and Kansas and a triple-double against Creighton.
McCombs, the preseason pick to repeat as Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year, has 20 or more digs in three matches and has been in double figures in digs in all six matches.
The Lady Bisons season home opener is Tuesday night at 6:30 at Allen Arena against Western Kentucky.