November 22, 20141st2nd3rd4thFinal
Jacksonville182525253
Lipscomb251917201
JUTeam StatsLIP
.212Hitting Pct..157
49Kills52
16Errors26
156Total Attacks166
43Assists49
3Aces2
72Digs83
9.0Blocks8.0
JULeadersLIP
STRAUSBAUGH - 16
KillsEstes - 14
GESUALDO - 40
AssistsOstrom - 44
GESUALDO - 2
AcesOstrom - 1
Kellerman - 1
MILLER - 22
DigsMcCombs - 22
NUSHTAYEVA - 5
BlocksSpitznagle - 5
Volleyball in limbo after loss in A-Sun Finals
Saturday, November 22, 2014
By Mark McGee
Volleyball in limbo after loss in A-Sun Finals

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Now the wait begins.

Thanksgiving is Thursday, but Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal is hoping he will still be counting his blessings next Sunday night during the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show. The ESPNU broadcast will air at 7:30 p.m. CT Nov. 30.

The Lady Bisons entered the Atlantic Sun Tournament with three possible roads to the NCAA Tournament. They only have one road, leading to an at-large bid, left to travel and the Lady Bisons don’t want to get stuck on a dead end.

“This year is still alive,” Rosenthal said. “It is going to be a long week. We are in new territory. We are going to have to refocus and get our minds right.

“The girls will practice Monday and Tuesday before they head home for Thanksgiving break. They will be back on Saturday. It is in the hands of the selection committee. We will know Sunday night.”

Saturday afternoon at Alico Arena on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast, the Lady Bisons, the regular season champion and the No.1 seed in the tournament fell 3-1 to No. 3 seed Jacksonville. The Dolphins earn the A-Sun automatic NCAA bid for the second year in a row.

Unfortunately, Jacksonville has advanced both years by beating the Lady Bisons in the championship game.

“I wouldn’t wish this feeling on anybody,” Rosenthal said. “We have had a great season to this point.

“We have done the work we are supposed to do. We just lost at the wrong time. Unfortunately, this afternoon, we weren’t the better team.”

The Lady Bisons won set one 25-18. Jacksonville rallied to take set two 25-19, set three 25-17 and set four 25-20.

“I thought we did a real nice job in the first set of controlling things,” Rosenthal said. “Then the second set just kind of got away from us.

“I thought coming out in set three we were just a little too tight. It is tough. You play this fine line of playing loose but also doing the things you are supposed to do. It got away from us in points.”

The time outs in set three were emotional times on the bench with both Rosenthal and his players trying to rally each other.

“As a coach you want to stay calm as much as possible, but at the same time the urgency has to be there,” Rosenthal said. “I felt like if we were going to make a move we had to do it in the third, even if we weren’t going to win the third.

“I thought our girls fought hard in the fourth set, Unfortunately, Jacksonville fought just as hard and came up with some big plays. We had to build momentum and we just didn’t.”

Rosenthal didn’t think his players worked hard enough or executed enough in transition.

“Jacksonville did a great job of blocking and touching balls and slowing our attack down,” Rosenthal said. “We went through waves. At certain times one or two players would be on and there were times when those one or two players would be off.

“In the second set our passing broke down and we couldn’t get the middles the ball. That put pressure on the outsides and the right side. When we got the outsides going we struggled with that. We just couldn’t put it all together.”

Right side Brittnay Estes led the Lady Bisons with 14 kills. She collected a double-double with 13 digs.

“Brittnay Estes played tremendous all the way through the match,” Rosenthal said. “She had a couple of untimely errors here and there but for someone going all out like she was you have to live with some of those.”

Also in double figures in kills for the Lady Bisons were middle blocker Molly Spitznagle with 11 and outside hitter Lauren Ford with 10. Spitznagle led the Lady Bisons with a .391 hitting percentage.

“We were close on a lot of points and we didn’t score on them,” Rosenthal said. “That is tough. We have been preaching that all year long and it got to us.”

Libero Bri McCombs tied for the match-high in digs with 22.

“I thought Bri McCombs was great,” Rosenthal said. “She had an unreal tournament. I am proud of the way she played.”

Outside hitter Sophie Kellerman made 17 digs.

Setter Kayla Ostrom, who hit .375 for the match, made 16 digs.

Estes and McCombs were both named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team.

It is the second year in a row that the Jacksonville has won the conference tournament.

The Lady Bisons have a 21-8 record. Jacksonville is 19-13.

Quick hits:

  • Estes has 13 double-doubles this season in kills and digs. She also has one triple-double in assists, kills and digs.
  • McCombs has 20 digs in 19 matches this season. Her 496 digs are the most for a Lady Bison player since 2007.  She had 469 last season.
  • Ostrom set a career and season high in digs. She has made 1,044 assists this season.