JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Lipscomb volleyball team is in the “River City” this weekend with the goal of extending the gap between first place and the rest of the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The Bisons, 3-0, are the only team that has not lost an A-Sun match. They face two challenges this weekend when they play at North Florida Friday night at 5 p.m. and Jacksonville Saturday at noon.
“This is a great opportunity to add some space between us and them,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “We are playing well and both of these teams are doing the same.
“North Florida runs a 6-2 and they really force you to make some decisions blocking-wise. They have played us tough the last couple of years. We have to be ready to battle with them.”
Rosenthal views Jacksonville as another major potential road block. There is intensity to their meetings based on prior history.
“They set the right side a lot,” Rosenthal said. “Their setter is fantastic at running their system.
“Jacksonville is a very senior-laden team and UNF is an older team as well. We are not going to surprise them. Even though it is in the same city we are playing two really tough teams.”
Lipscomb is 10-7 overall and ranked 102 in the first NCAA Division I RPI of the season. Lipscomb is the highest ranked team in the A-Sun.
Both matches can be seen live on ESPN3. Former Lipscomb standout Lauren Ford will be part of the broadcast team for UNF.
Scouting UNF: North Florida is coming off a midweek 3-0 win over Savannah State. The Ospreys are 2-1 in the conference and tied for second place. They are 15-4 overall having won 11 of their last 12 matches. They are 4-0 at home at UNF Arena.
Six UNF players have more than 100 kills overall with Tessa Alyman leading the way with 215, 3.41 per set. She is fourth in the conference overall in kills per set.
Carina Hoff is tied for fifth with 3.20 per set, 157 total. She is fourth with a .327 hitting percentage overall. Her teammate, Katarina Raicevic is fifth at .326. Erin Edwards is eighth overall at .284.
They have four players with more than 100 digs. Kimberly Ferguson is fifth in the conference overall with 301.
Abby Fesl is third in the A-Sun in service aces with 23, .34 per set. She is seventh in the conference in assists with 540, 8.06 per set.
The UNF series: Lipscomb holds a 12-3 advantage in the series with a 6-2 record at UNF. The last loss for Lipscomb in the series was in 2012, a 3-1 decision at UNF.
Scouting Jacksonville: The Dolphins have two of the top players in the conference. Emily Laskelle leads the conference in kills per set with 4.03, 234 total. Mayara Prestes is the leader in digs with 6.19 per set, 291 total.
The only other Jacksonville player with more than 100 kills overall is Kelly Koop with 137, 2.36 per set. Koop also has 154 digs, 2.66 per set.
Two other players join Prestes and Koop with more than 100 digs.
Laskelle and Prestes also dominate in A-Sun matches only. Laskelle is averaging 4.17 kills per set, 50 total. Prestes is averaging 6.50 digs per set, 78 total.
Jacksonville is tied for second in the A-Sun with a 2-1 record. The Dolphins are 5-10 overall. Both Lipscomb and Jacksonville enter the match having won their last two matches.
The Jacksonville series: Lipscomb leads the series 14-7. The Bisons are 6-3 at Swisher Gym. They are 0-2 against Jacksonville on neutral courts having lost to the Dolphins in the A-Sun Tournament championship game in both 2013 and 2014.
Lipscomb national rankings: Setter Kayla Ostrom is fourth nationally in assists per set with 11.43 and 12th in total assists with 751.
Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle is 84th in hitting percentage at .358.
As a team Lipscomb is 32nd in assists per set with 13.09 and 41st in team assists with 838.
The Bisons are 55th in kills per set with 13.69 and 59th in team kills with 876.
A-Sun rankings: Overall Spitznagle leads the A-Sun with a .358 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Jewell Dobson is sixth at .309.
In conference matches only Dobson is first with a .543 hitting percentage. Lipscomb players round out the first four spots with outside hitter Lauren Anderson (.478), Spitznagle (.457) and right side Brittnay Estes (.393) in second, third and fourth, respectively. Outside hitter Chloe Rogers is sixth at .354.
Ostrom is the assists leader overall. In A-Sun matches she also leads with an average of 12.11 per set, 109 total.
Overall Dobson is seventh in kills per set with 3.16, 196 overall. Carly Nusbaum is eighth with 3.00 per set, 105 total.
In A-Sun matches Estes is fifth with 3.22 kills per set, 29 total. Dobson is sixth with 3.11 per set, 28 total. Lauren Anderson is ninth with 2.78 per set, 25 total.
Libero Brittany Thomas is sixth in digs with 4.11 per set, 263 overall. She is third in total digs. In the A-Sun Thomas is fourth in digs with 4.33 per set, 39 total.