NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb volleyball team hits the road Thursday and Friday for the final two tune-ups before the start of the Atlantic Sun Conference portion of the season.
Thursday they stop in Lexington to face No. 15 Kentucky from the Southeastern Conference at 6 p.m. Friday they head north to Cincinnati for a 5:30 match with Xavier from the Big East.
The Lady Bisons, 6-4, will be out to end a two-game losing skid.
Scouting Kentucky (7-2)
Kentucky coach Craig Skinner won his 210th game with the Wildcats Sept. 13 to become the winningest coach in the history of the volleyball program.
Sophomore outside hitter Anni Thomasson leads Kentucky with 104 kills, 3.25 per set followed by junior outside hitter Shelby Workman with 102 kills, 3.19 per set.
Senior defensive specialist Jackie Napper leads with 158 digs, 4.94 per set.
The Lady Bisons have faced Kentucky twice previously. They lost at Allen Arena 3-0 when Kentucky was rated No. 19 in 2013. In 2012 Kentucky prevailed 3-2.
The Lady Bisons have one victory over an SEC team this season with a 3-1 win at Missouri.
The match will be played at Memorial Coliseum.
The match will air on the SEC Network+ digital platform. Dick Gabriel and Mandy Robbe will have the call. The link can be found via WatchESPN.
Scouting Xavier (6-4)
The Musketeers are coming off a 3-2 loss at Dayton Tuesday night.
Senior middle blocker Alex Blair leads the Big East with a .391 hitting percentage. Senior setter Aubree Smith is sixth in the conference in assists with 312.
Abby Bessler is the team leader in kills with 141. Jesse Earl is tops on the team in digs with 156.
As a team Xavier ranks second in the Big East in hitting percentage, assists per set and kills per set.
The Lady Bisons are 1-2 overall against Xavier. The Lady Bisons prevailed 3-2 at Allen Arena in 2010. The two teams faced each other twice in 2011 with the Lady Bisons losing 3-0 and 3-1.
The match will be played at the Cintas Center.
Double, double Estes is trouble
Right side Brittnay Estes has posted three double-doubles and one triple-double this season.
She opened the season with a triple-double vs. Creighton in the Missouri Invitational.
She has posted double-doubles against Kansas (11 kills, 13 digs), Illinois State (19 kills, 15 digs) and Georgia Tech (10 kills, 10 digs).
On the national front
Setter Kayla Ostrom is ranked 15th in the nation in total assists.
Outside hitter Lauren Ford is 21st in total kills.
As a team the Lady Bisons are 27th in both assists and kills.
A time for kills
Outside hitter Lauren Ford is second in the conference in kills per set with 3.90. Ford is second in kills with 160. Right side Brittnay Estes is fourth with 121 kills.
Ford us ninth in the A-Sun with a .263 hitting percentage.
Libero Bri McCombs, the 2013 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year and preseason favorite to repeat for the honor, leads the conference in digs with 163 and is second in digs per set with 4.29.
Ostrom gives assistance
Setter Kayla Ostrom is second in the conference in total assist with 436 and second in assists per set with 10.63.
Spitznagle on the blocks
Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle is third in the conference in blocks per set with .88. She is seventh in hitting percentage (.276).
Team A-Sun rankings
Lipscomb leads the conference in kills with 544 and kills per set with 13.27.
The Lady Bisons also lead in assists with 509 and in assists per set with 12.41.
Lipscomb is third in hitting percentage with a .207.
Getting off the skids
The last time the Lady Bisons lost two matches back-to-back was 2012 when it happened twice. The last time is occurred was Sept 8 and Sept. 11 when the Lady Bisons fell to Arizona and Western Kentucky respectively, both on the road.
The last time the Lady Bisons lost three matches in a row was also in 2012 when they opened the season with losses to Long Beach State, Kentucky and North Carolina.
Libero Bri McCombs has posted 20 or more digs five times this season with a season high 23 twice (vs. Oakland, 9/6 and vs. Illinois St., 9/6).
McCombs sat out the Western Kentucky match, but she has double figures in all nine of her matches this season.
Outside hitter Lauren Ford has made 21 or more kills three times this season. Her season high is 24 vs. Illinois State on Sept. 6.
Ford has been in double figures in kills in nine out of 10 matches.