|September 22, 2015||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||Final|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It is time for the short trip down the boulevard as Lipscomb visits Belmont for the volleyball edition of “The Battle of the Boulevard”.
No matter whether the players change, the coaches change or the conference affiliations change it always means the same thing as far as Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal is concerned.
“It is always the same feeling in my stomach,” Rosenthal said. “It is the same feeling watching game film and preparing.
“This is the rivalry. It is fun. I am excited. I imagine the girls will be equally as excited.”
The Bisons are coming off a 3-1 win Saturday over Milwaukee at the Wildcat Classic hosted by Northwestern University. Lipscomb split the matches in the classic losing 3-1 to Northwestern on Friday night. But Rosenthal saw steady improvement in his team which enters the Belmont match with a 6-6 record.
“I thought we played well,” Rosenthal said. “When you look at the Northwestern match we just didn’t make plays at key times.
“It is just a matter of staying focused and executing down the stretch against good teams. I feel great about what we did on Saturday against Milwaukee.”
The match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at the Curb Center.
Scouting Belmont: The Bruins, from the Ohio Valley Conference, are 3-7. They have not played since Sept. 15 when they lost 3-0 to Western Kentucky at home. They have won one of their last four matches.
“Arianna Person, their sophomore outside hitter, is a tremendous player,” Rosenthal said. “Emma Price, their setter, does a nice job. She is pretty offensive-minded. Jocelyn Youngdahl is solid in the middle.
“They do a great job serving. We understand that. We have to stay in the moment and understand they are going to score points. It is more about what we can do. We have to keep the pressure on them.”
Series history: Belmont holds an 12-11 lead in the series. The Bisons are 2-8 at the Curb Center. The last time the two teams met on the Belmont campus was Oct. 25. 2011. Belmont won 3-1. Lipscomb had won earlier in the season at Allen Arena by a 3-2 score.
Belmont did not play Lipscomb in 2012 and 2013 by their decision. Coach Tony Howell revived the series last season. Lipscomb will host Belmont at Allen Arena Oct. 20.
“I appreciate Tony,” Rosenthal said. “He saw the importance of us playing each other.
“He appreciates what the two schools are trying to do. He thinks it is important for volleyball and important that the people of Nashville have the opportunity to see us play.”
Last season Lipscomb won 3-0 at Allen Arena Oct. 21.
Familiar faces: The Lipscomb and Belmont players are not total strangers to each other. Several of them have crossed paths in club and high school volleyball.
Belmont has two players from the Kansas City area. Person is from Lenexa, Kansas. Brie Lewis is from Stillwell, Kansas. Lipscomb’s Chloe Rogers is from Stillwell. Carly Nusbaum and Brittany Thomas are from Overland Park, Kansas.
Belmont’s Maggie Mullins is from Nashville. Tori Simmons is from Murfreesboro. Lipscomb has Hannah Hutcheson form Brentwood and Kaitlyn Teeter from Lebanon.
Lipscomb’s Lauren Anderson is from Mackinaw, Illinois and Jenny Phelan is from Chicago. Belmont’s Ellie Ivancich is from Naperville, Illinois.
“Those girls might be friends, but the fact they go to rival schools is all you need,” Rosenthal said.
NCAA rankings: Setter Kayla Ostrom is ranked seventh nationally in assists per set with 11.60. She is 20th in the nation in NCAA Division I with 545.
As a team Lipscomb is 50th in assists per set with 12.89.
The Bisons are 56th in team attacks per set with 36.36.
A-Sun rankings: Ostrom leads the conference in assists per set and total assists.
Outside hitter Lauren Anderson is second in service aces with 18 and second in aces per set with .38.
Libero Brittany Thomas is third in the conference in total digs with 183.
The Bisons are first in the A-Sun in assists per set. They are second in kills per set with 13.40.
Common opponents: Lipscomb beat Ball State 3-1 and lost to Ole Miss 3-1. Belmont fell to Ball State 3-0 and was swept by Ole Miss 3-0.
The road gets a little longer later this week as Lipscomb travels to Newark, New Jersey to face New Jersey Institute of Technology, the newest member of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
It is the season opener for the Bisons and the first time they have ever faced NJIT.