|October 17, 2014||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
Thomas - 2
McCombs - 2
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Watching your team get better and better as a match progresses may be almost as enjoyable as a win is for a coach.
Such was the case for Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal. His Lady Bisons remain the only unbeaten volleyball team in Atlantic Sun Conference matches with a 3-1 come-from-behind win over Florida Gulf Coast Saturday afternoon at Alico Arena.
“I thought Gulf Coast came out and served tremendous against us and put us on our heels,” Rosenthal said. “Between sets two and three I told our girls two things.
“First, I told them I didn’t think Gulf Coast could continue to serve like they did in the first two sets. And I didn’t think they could continue to pass the way they were doing early. We put some pressure on them and made them crack a little bit.”
The Lady Bisons lost set one 25-23, but rallied to take set two 26-24. They came back from intermission to win set three 25-19 and closed out the match with a 25-18 victory in set four.
“Our girls showed exactly who they are,” Rosenthal said. “I thought Florida Gulf Coast came out with a great game plan. They punched us right out of the gate. We just committed one too many errors in set one.
“We fought back but we couldn’t make it happen at the end of the first. I thought in the second set we got outworked three-fourths of the way through. The last time out of the second set I told our girls Florida Gulf Coast was beating us at our game. We were probably a little lucky to get that second one but sometimes you create that luck by working hard.”
During the intermission Rosenthal told his team that they were going to have the edge in sets three and four.
“I thought we served extremely tough in sets three and four,” Rosenthal said. “It is not going to show up in the stats with huge numbers but I thought our blocks in sets three and four were timely.
“I thought we stuck to the game plan. We played disciplined defense in sets three and four and created a lot of pressure on Florida Gulf Coast. When you combine our defense with the offense that we have we can make teams uncomfortable.”
The Lady Bisons are 12-6, 6-0 in the conference. FGCU falls to 12-8, 5-1 in the A-Sun with the loss.
It was the sixth straight win for the Lady Bisons while the Eagles ended a seven-game winning streak.
Outside hitter Lauren Ford made a match-high 20 kills for Lipscomb.
Also in double figures in kills were right side Brittnay Estes with 13 and outside hitter Sophie Kellerman with 12.
Estes and Kellerman both finished with double-doubles. Kellerman made 15 digs and Estes added 13.
Libero Bri McCombs made a match-high 21 digs.
Kellerman and Ostrom each had .500 hitting percentages to lead the Lady Bisons. Middle blocker Katie Bradley posted a .400 hitting percentage.
Rosenthal called it a team effort from the coaches and players to the support staff including trainer Kelsey Ferguson and assistant strength and conditioning coach Will Osburn.
“At a time out during the fourth set I told our girls we were ready for this,” Rosenthal said. “All of the work they put in during the summer lifting and in practice every day was for this reason.
“We turned it up another notch. That is where the total team effort came in. We played with a lot of confidence. I am really proud of what we did.”
- Estes opened the season with a triple-double and completed her sixth double-double of the season against FGCU. She has double-doubles in back-to-back matches.
- Kellerman has four double-doubles this season and also has accomplished the feat in back-to-back matches. Three of her double-doubles have been in A-Sun play.
- Kellerman’s .500 hitting percentage tied her season and career high.
- McCombs finished with 20 or more digs in a match for the sixth time this season.
- Ford has 20 or more kills in five matches this season.
- Ford has 1,417 career kills and becomes only the second Lady Bison to have more than 1,400 kills in a career. Alex Kelly is the all-time leader with 1,756.
The Lady Bisons continue their road trip Saturday when they head to DeLand, Florida to face Stetson at noon. Stetson, 13-6, 5-1, won its fifth match in a row beating Northern Kentucky 3-0 Saturday.
“Being 6-0 right now in the conference doesn’t’ mean that much,” Rosenthal said. “The challenge is still ahead of us. There are not easy weekends in the conference. Stetson is a hungry team that is playing with a ton of confidence right now.
“We talked a lot before the Gulf Coast match about experience and confidence coming from that experience. We played a challenging preconference schedule for this purpose.”