NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal is bringing in his largest freshman class ever for 2015, but more importantly it possesses talent and versatility.
Rosenthal has announced the addition of six players – Carli Anderson, Lauren Anderson, CaLayci Coffey, Marcella Nicole Emmanuelli, Hannah Hutcheson and Carlyle Nusbaum.
“It is quite possibly one of the most talented classes we have ever had from top to bottom,” Rosenthal said. “I am truly excited. “It was an important class for us. We knew that going into it.
“The class is highlighted by national prominence as to who these players are and what they have done on a national scale. It is also highlighted by the fact that we have a lot of different types of players from a setter, a right side, a middle-right side, a middle and two outsides.”
The Lady Bisons lost four seniors - outside hitters Lauren Ford and Sophie Kellerman, setter Jordan Huston and defensive specialist Megan Stout - from the 2014 team that received the program’s first at-large bid for the NCAA Tournament after winning the Atlantic Sun regular season and finishing second in the conference tournament.
“Losing four very important people from the program, this had to be a special class,” Rosenthal said. “To get six is tough. “You have to have the right people who can come in and continue to help us and take us to the next level.”
Rosenthal commended assistant coaches Ann Armes and Billy Ebel for their hard work.
“We worked really hard to identify these six,” Rosenthal said. “We kept getting more and more excited as we went through the recruiting process as the pieces came together. They are going to be the backbone of what we are continuing to try to do.
“There is no shortage of electricity and spontaneity with these players. They are going to be very fun to watch because of their passion.”
Living on the outside
Lauren Anderson and Nusbaum are outside hitters.
Lauren, 5-10, plays for Deer Creek-Mackinaw High School in Mackinaw, Illinois. Her team is a two-time state champion. She is a 2014 All-State selection. On the club level she is an AAU Open All-American for 2014 and a Prep Volleyball Senior Ace for 2015.
“Lauren is amazing for her accolades and what she has done,” Rosenthal said. “She is one of the top players in the state of Illinois not only in high school but in club volleyball.
“She is one of those players who is a tenacious offensive threat and an all-around defensive threat. She is someone who is going to jump right into our culture and really blossom.”
Nusbaum, 5-10, is from Overland Park, Kansas where she attends Saint Thomas Aquinas. She has helped guide her high school team to one state championship. On the club level she has played on a national championship team in the open division and a national runner-up.
“Carlyle is the Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and that speaks for itself in a lot of ways,” Rosenthal said. “I think Carlyle will do a fantastic job of being able to play multiple positons, but we are going to focus on the outside. Even though she is 5-10 she has had to play the middle in high school and club which is not traditionally a position for someone of her height.
“She and Lauren Anderson are very similar in they are undersized outside hitters who bring a tremendous amount of power to the game. I think they will be able to flourish in our system. They are both exactly what we are looking for in terms of competitors. They want to come right in and get after it. They have a lot of disregard for the status quo. We have two open positions on the outside and there will be competition right away.”
Coffey in the middle
Coffey, 5-10, is a middle blocker from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, Kentucky. She was a second-team All-State selection in 2013. She was also the team MVP in 2013 and the team captain for 2014.
“She is somebody we have gotten to know very well through Ann’s connections. She is a superior athlete. She is going to really do well with our fast-paced offense. She is someone who is explosive to the highest degree. She is extremely fast laterally. She will really be able to get after it in our system.
“She is a competitor who doesn’t like to lose. She is very passionate about the way she plays. We are excited about what she is going to bring to the court right away.”
On the right side
Carli Anderson, a 6-foot-1 right side, is from Apopka High School near Orlando, Florida. She is a two-time All-Region and All-District selection and a two-year team captain of her high school team. In 2013 her club team placed second in the AAU National Tournament.
‘We identified her early,” Rosenthal said. “She shows a lot of potential, especially on the right side. She is young to the game but she is very skilled and continues to grow month-by-month.
“She enjoys life. She brings a lot of spunk. She really wants to go after it. It will be fun to add her into the mix. ”
Emmanuelli, a 5-7 setter, is a former club teammate of Carli Anderson. She plays for Cypress Creek High School in Orlando, Florida. She was her team MVP in both 2013 and 2014.
“Marcella is someone we have seen for more than a year,” Rosenthal said. “She has impressed with her court presence and the way she runs the court and also with her leadership.
“She has a great disposition and also knows how to get the job done in directing traffic. It is important to have another setter. We saw that this past year when Kayla Ostrom was sidelined. She knows how to set the ball well and she can set the slide extremely well.”
Hutcheson, 6-feet, is a middle-right side from Brentwood and played for Lipscomb Academy. She is a two-time All-Region selection in 2014 and 2013 and was All-District MVP in 2014. She served as team captain in both 2014 and 2013. She is also the team MVP for 2014 and 2013.
“We have been able to watch Hannah over the past three years and watch her growth,” Rosenthal said. “She made the decision last year to go with volleyball full-time. She will continue to grow. Her work ethic is admirable.
“She has versatility. She can play middle or right side and has done that in both club and high school. She is going to fit right in. We have had a long history of players who can play multiple positions.”