|October 31, 2014||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
Huston - 1
|November 01, 2014||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
Huston - 1
Bradley - 3
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons would like to repeat something they have only done once while avoiding repeating something they have only done once since 2005.
In Friday night’s 3-2 loss at Northern Kentucky the Lady Bisons placed five players in double figures in kills – outside hitter Lauren Ford (15), right side Brittnay Estes (12), outside hitter Sophie Kellerman (12) and middle blockers Molly Spitznagle and Katie Bradley with 11 each - for the first time in the NCAA era.
Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal wouldn’t mind seeing that rare feat repeated, but he would prefer that those kills would also produce a win.
“From the looks of it, it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story,” Rosenthal said. “The quick look at it says, hey, you should have won the match.
“Each set is different. I thought we did some good stuff offensively. We just didn’t execute some of the fundamental plays down the stretch at Northern Kentucky.”
The Lady Bisons, 14-7, 7-1 in the A-Sun, will be out to avoid back-to-back Atlantic Sun Conference match losses, something they haven’t experienced since 2005 when they lost to North Florida and Jacksonville on the road.
They have not lost back-to-back conference matches in Allen Arena since 2003 when they fell to Troy, UCF and Florida Atlantic.
The Lady Bisons celebrate Halloween night Friday with a visit from Stetson, 14-8, 5-3 in the A-Sun, at 6:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon they will face Florida Gulf Coast, 14-8, 7-1 in the conference.
The match with Stetson can be seen on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app on mobile devices.
“In both the Stetson and FGCU matches the first time around we did a very good job blocking,” Rosenthal said. “Moving forward we have to continue that effort and set a tone of being aggressive at the net.
“At Florida Gulf Coast it really became a serve and pass kind of game. I thought we served really well. I thought we passed really well. How well we can serve and pass, more than anything, will be the underlying factor against both of these teams.”
Scouting Stetson: Stetson enters the weekend in third place in the conference. Stetson has lost its last two conference matches falling to Lipscomb 3-1 Oct. 18 and FGCU 3-2 Oct. 25.
The Lady Bisons are 15-3 all-time against Stetson, with victories in the last 15 matches.
Libero Alexa Drost is sixth in the A-Sun in digs per set with 3.73.
Right side Madison Akins leads the Hatters in kills with 260, 3.06 per set. McKenna Foster has 252 kills, 3.07 per set.
Scouting FGCU: Lipscomb and FGCU are tied for first place in the conference. FGCU will open the weekend at Northern Kentucky Friday night.
FGCU has won its last two conference matches and has only one loss in its last 10 games, a 3-1 defeat by the Lady Bisons at Alico Arena on Oct. 17.
Lauren Tutwiler is the A-Sun Freshman of the Week after a career-high .833 hitting percentage and 10 kills against Stetson.
Olivia Mesner leads the conference overall in hitting percentage (.379) and in conference matches only (.392). She is third in the conference overall in kills with 289, 3.28 per set and third in conference matches with 117, 3.66 per set.
The Lady Bisons are 11-4 overall in the series with FGCU.
Bradley is steady in the middle: Bradley has been steadily climbing the stats ladder this season. The 11 kills at Northern Kentucky marked the first time she has been in double figures in her career. Her .667 hitting percentage was also a career high.
“I think if you look at Katie’s production on the year you see a steady incline,” Rosenthal said. “You are not going to see a huge spike. That’s awesome. That is what you want to see.
“The huge spikes are great. But what people don’t realize is there are valleys that come from that too. If Katie can continue on the path she is following now by the time we get to the conference tournament she will be in a good place for us.”
Built Ford tough: Ford has finished in double figures in kills in her last seven matches.
She is second in the A-Sun overall with 324 kills, 3.86 per set, and second in conference matches only with 134, 4.19 per set.
Ford has 1,463 kills in her career, second overall on the team’s all-time list and sixth in the conference all-time.
Setter status: Kayla Ostrom did not play in the 3-2 loss to Northern Kentucky. Senior Jordan Huston, who had previously only played one set this season, filled in with an impressive 53 assists, nine digs, two kills, two service aces and two block assists along with a .286 hitting percentage.
Ostrom’s status Friday night will be decided prior to the start of the match.
“We are still hopeful,” Rosenthal said. “We all understand what we are dealing with.”
Rosenthal liked what he saw from Huston who was a last-minute starter against Northern Kentucky.
“Jordan did a fantastic job, “ Rosenthal said. “The only thing that would have made it better would be if we had gotten the win.
“Jordan has worked hard all week. She will be ready to go if we need her.”
Rosenthal has stressed to Huston that she does not need to be perfect with every set to produce points.
“The big thing for her is to play within herself,” Rosenthal said. “She has to understand she has some pretty good hitters around her.
“She doesn’t have to make perfect sets. She just has to put up hittable balls.”