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December 05, 20141st2nd3rdFinal
Ohio State2525253
LIPTeam StatsOSU
.037Hitting Pct..274
109Total Attacks95
Ford - 10
KillsSchirmer - 12
Ostrom - 28
AssistsSherwin - 32
Kellerman - 1
AcesLeon - 2
McCombs - 9
DigsLeon - 17
Spitznagle - 2
BlocksSandbothe - 10
Ohio State sweeps volleyball in NCAA Tournament
Friday, December 5, 2014
By Mark McGee
Ohio State sweeps volleyball in NCAA Tournament

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Lipscomb’s Lauren Ford sat in the dressing room and was not sure what to do.

The Lady Bisons had just lost to Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by a 3-0 score. The senior outside hitter and co-captain had played her last collegiate volleyball match, something she isn’t sure when she will fully comprehend.

“I don’t know when I will know it,” Ford said. “It was kind of like, `whoa, was that it?

“We got back to the locker room and we were looking at each other. I didn’t want to take off my knee pads. I kept my shoes and everything else on for quite a while after the game. Normally, you get back in the locker room and start taking your stuff off. I wasn’t ready for it.”

It was a time of disappointment, but also a time to look back at all of the good things that happened this season. The Lady Bisons finished the season 21-9 and won the Atlantic Sun regular season title for the fourth time with a 13-1 record.

They have set new program highs for RPI rankings and entered the tournament at No. 33.

“I think we made huge progress this year as a program from winning a lot of preconference matches and beating schools like Kansas and Illinois State and the big schools we have mentioned before this season.

“I think we have set the bar higher for Lipscomb volleyball. I think next year’s recruiting class and the team we are going to have will continue to step up and fill those roles and push harder.”

Rosenthal found some solace in the knowledge that Ford and her fellow players were reluctant to change out of their uniforms and see the season end.

“I hate it for our players because they pour so much into it,” Rosenthal said. “I think it speaks volumes about what we are doing with this program and what it means to the girls.

“If it means that much to the girls that they didn’t want to change that is a great feeling for me as a coach. There are plenty of other teams where the girls can’t wait to get their stuff off.”

It was the fifth postseason trip for the Lady Bisons and the fifth time they have failed to advance past the first round. The scores were 25-20, 25-14 and 25-18.

“The girls played hard,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t question that at all. We weren’t able to execute some of the things we needed to do.

“Some of that has to do with the fact Ohio State was really good. And here we are at the end of the season because of that. At this point in the season with 64 teams you are going to have a tough match no matter who you get.”

Ford led the Lady Bisons with 10 kills.

“Ohio State kept coming at us and it was a lot about their height and physicality at the net,” Ford said. “We didn’t have as many options and I hate to say that.

“They weren’t better volleyball players than us but they were bigger than us and we haven’t gone up against teams like that since preconference. I never doubted for a second that we were going after it on every point.”

Libero Bri McCombs made nine digs.

Ohio State’s Luisa Schirmer led overall with 12 kills. Erin Sekinger added 10.

Valeria Leon was credited with 17 digs.

The Lady Bisons finish the season 21-9. Ohio State advances to the second round with a 22-11 record.

“It is hard to process it,” Rosenthal said of the end of the season. “There were tears but it wasn’t heartbreak. It was just tears that it is over.

“I think this group really loves each other. They have become really close. From that last point it starts to settle in that this is it.”

Quick hits:

  • This was the second time the Lady Bisons have lost to Ohio State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. They dropped a 3-1 match in Columbus in 2010.
  • Ford finished the season with a career season high 458 kills.
  • It was also the last collegiate volleyball match for libero-defensive specialist Megan Stout, setter Jordan Huston and outside hitter and co-captain Sophie Kellerman.

Middle blocker Jewell Dobson is also a senior, but was redshirted this season due to an injury. She will return to the team in 2015.

“There is another level…another step and that is winning a first round match” Rosenthal said. “But what the seniors have done over a four-year period is pretty amazing and pretty remarkable. It is fun to have been a part of it.”