|August 28, 2015||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||Final|
Stinson - 4
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Despite playing a match where they were often their own worst enemy the Lipscomb Lady Bisons prevailed 3-2 to open the 2015 season with a victory over Cal State-Northridge in the first match of the Utah Classic at the Huntsman Center.
Lipscomb won set one 25-19 and then dropped set two 27-25 and set three 25-18. They won set four 25-19 and then took set five 15-9 for the match win over the Matadors from the Big West Conference.
“It is a matter of cleaning up our errors and finding ways to win,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “It doesn’t matter what you did last year because that was a different group. There is definitely a learning curve, but we found a way.
“As a whole I thought we played really well. But we had 23 service errors and that is going to hurt at some point. And in sets two and three the errors just crushed us.”
However, Rosenthal stressed he enjoyed watching how his players refused to lose.
“I loved the fight in our girls,” Rosenthal said. “I thought they did a nice job.
“We got into a rhythm, but unfortunately we got out of that rhythm. Statistically, I like what I see. It is going to come down to our side and unfortunately our side made too many errors in sets two and three, but still found a way to win.”
A service ace by middle blocker Molly Spitznagle, who rarely finds herself in such a situation, sealed the win in set five.
“We were hurting a little bit service-wise so we had to make some adjustments there at the end,” Rosenthal said. “With the rotation we started in we kind of knew Molly was going to serve at some point.
“We practice serving every day. Molly was ready to go for it. She did a great job.”
Middle blocker Jewell Dobson, playing her first match since an injury Sept. 5 of last season, led with a match-high 18 kills.
Spitznagle added 14 kills. Freshmen outside hitters Lauren Anderson and Carly Nusbaum made successful collegiate debuts with 13 kills apiece.
“Both Lauren and Carly are very skilled players and great competitors,” Rosenthal said. “They are getting the kinks out in these early matches. They are going to be staples for us a long time.”
Spitznagle finished with a .520 hitting percentage, the match high. Dobson was not far behind with a .519 hitting percentage.
“Our middles were on fire,” Rosenthal said. “Molly and Jewell only made five errors on 52 attempts and they both hit over .500. That is hard to do.”
Dobson’s performance proved she is healthy and ready to go this season.
“I told her to just play,” Rosenthal said. “I have said it before, and I will say it again many times, that I think she is one of the best middles in the country.”
Lauren Anderson added 13 digs to record the first double-double of her career. Setter Kayla Ostrom made 13 digs followed by right side Brittnay Estes with 10.
Dobson also had a match-high seven blocks. Ostrom made a match-high 58 assists.
Lipscomb recorded a .260 hitting percentage with 68 kills and 69 digs and eight service aces.
Aeryn Owens paced Cal State-Northridge with 16 kills and Ciena Stinson added 14. As a team the Matadors recorded a .147 hitting percentage.
“Defense was the key at the end,” Rosenthal said. “I told them during the last time out that we needed to win defensively.”
- It was the first season-opening volleyball match win for Lipscomb since 2009 when the Lady Bisons beat Western Kentucky 3-0.
- Libero Brittany Thomas was credited with a match high 19 digs, also a match career high for the sophomore.
- Thomas was one short of her career match high of four service aces. The service ace by Spitznagle was her first since Oct. 10, 2014 when she had two against Jacksonville.
- Ostrom made more than 50 assists for the sixth time in her career.
- Kaitlyn Teeter, Chloe Rogers and Jenny Phelan earned praise from Rosenthal for the way they played in reserve roles.
- Nusbaum’s numbers were even more impressive since she injured her ankle early in the match, but still managed to play in all five sets.
- It was the first match of the season for both teams.
The Lady Bisons are back in action with two games Saturday. They face Idaho State at 1 p.m. followed by host Utah at 8.
“Idaho State is a taller team,” Rosenthal said. “But it comes down to us. The things we have to do are to serve a little tougher and cut down on the unforced errors.
“I love the pieces we have. I think we are going to be a force to be reckoned with no matter who we are playing.”