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September 04, 20151st2nd3rd4thFinal
Ball State261516181
BSUTeam StatsLIP
.096Hitting Pct..217
135Total Attacks129
KillsDOBSON - 13
AssistsOSTROM - 43
DigsTHOMAS - 16
BlocksDOBSON - 4
It is all about the middle for volleyball
Friday, September 4, 2015
By Mark McGee
It is all about the middle for volleyball

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb volleyball team has a lot of offensive weapons this season, but when key points are needed coach Brandon Rosenthal is looking to the middle.

In Lipscomb’s 3-1 win over Ball State in the first day of the Courtyard Marriott-Brentwood Lipscomb Invitational at Allen Arena middle blockers Jewell Dobson and Molly Spitznagle each made 13 kills. Dobson hit .455 and Spitznagle posted a .400 hitting percentage.

Both Dobson and Spitznagle give much of the credit to setter Kayla Ostrom who finished with 43 assists against Ball State.

“Jewell and I are seniors and we have been through the ropes and we know what it takes,” Spitznagle said. “It has been really fun to see Kayla distributing the ball.

“Obviously, the other hitters and our passers are doing their job or we couldn’t get the ball so it all starts with serve-receive. They are doing a great job so we can run the middle more and it has been effective. It is a great place to be.”

Dobson is used to being a dominating player in kills. She thinks that she and Spitznagle are catching teams unprepared for what they can do, especially with the way freshmen outside hitters Lauren Anderson and Carly Nusbaum have been playing.

“It is really good when we have multiple people up there that can put the ball away,” Dobson said. “It is not as common for the middle to be a driving force in kills. We can start it off and once the other teams come with us on the block we can go to the outside.”

Rosenthal praised the performances of Dobson and Spitznagle. He also pointed to Ostrom’s play in setting up the players, especially in the middle.

“It is unusual to see two middles be as successful as they were against Ball State,” Rosenthal said. “A lot of times you will see one middle lead in kills.

“I thought Molly did a fantastic job of understanding the game plan and really attacking them and getting some quick points. “

Lipscomb started the match on a slow note. The Lady Bisons trailed by as many as six points in the first set. Trailing 22-17, Lipscomb started a comeback and tied the set at 24-24 before losing 26-24.

Lipscomb took set two 25-15, set three 25-16 and set four 25-18.

“We knew Ball State was a good team,” Rosenthal said. “I didn’t think we served particularly well in the first set except for the last 10 points. That is where we started applying some pressure.

“They had been applying the pressure to us and we weren’t answering back. They got a good lead on us and it was just a matter of could we manage the game. I told our players to play our game and the score would take care of itself.

Nusbaum made 12 kills and led the match with 32 attempts. She has been in double figures in kills in all three matches she has played in this season.

“The little things in the college game are challenging for me like transitioning and getting out on the blocks,” Nusbaum said. “It is a lot different. All of the hitters are a lot faster.

“The coaches and the other girls get me through it. They tell me where I need to be.”

Nusbaum has been surprised by how successful she has been in her first collegiate matches.

“I came in thinking I wouldn’t even be playing my first year,” Nusbaum said. “It is very humbling to know the coaches think I can do it and they put me out there.”

Libero Brittany Thomas finished with a match-high 16 digs. Right side Brittnay Estes added 12 and outside hitter Lauren Anderson finished with 10.

Alex Fuelling was credited with a match-high 15 kills for Ball State. Jenna Spadafora added 15 digs.

The Lady Bisons remain undefeated at 4-0. Ball State drops to 3-2. Lipscomb is back on the court tonight at 7:30 to close out the first day against Pepperdine, 5-0, a 3-1 winner over Florida Atlantic to start the tournament.

“Pepperdine is every efficient,” Rosenthal said. “We have to find ways to get them out of system and play our game more than their game.

“I think we have to strike quickly. We have to establish our speed and variety early. It will kind of play into their hands if we don’t do it.”


  • Freshman right side Carli Anderson made her collegiate debut in the Ball State match. She  played in two sets.
  • Freshman outside hitter Lauren Anderson has recorded double figures in digs in three of her first four matches.

“It wasn’t her best match offensively, but down the stretch she played great defense,” Rosenthal said. “She also passed really well.”

  • Thomas has been the match leader in digs in three matches this season.