The road to volleyball victories is full of drivers
Thursday, October 15, 2015
By Mark McGee
The road to volleyball victories is full of drivers

“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”
John Wooden

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The late John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach known for his success for so many years at UCLA, is credited with this statement.

His players believed in what he had to say. And if Wooden was alive, and visiting the Lipscomb campus today, he would see his philosophy at work with the Lipscomb volleyball team.

The Bisons are back at home at Allen Arena this weekend for a pair of Atlantic Sun matches. Friday night they face USC Upstate at 6:30 and Sunday Kennesaw State visits at 2 p.m.

No one can predict which Lipscomb players will lead the team in offense or defense in any match. There are six players with more than 100 kills this season and four with more than 100 digs. And none of them have a problem with whom the spot light will shine on.

Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle, one of the three captains for the Bisons, is one of the six players with more than 100 kills. With the Bisons heading into this weekend with a 12-7 record, 5-0 in the A-Sun, she stresses that players are very pleased with their progress.

“We think it is something that is kind of evolving into something bigger than we even thought it could be,” Spitznagle said. “This team is absolutely something special.

“We have learned to work together very well. At the beginning we didn’t know how to put ourselves together in a way where we knew we could win. Now that we are in the conference we are finding different things that work and we are kind of running with them. We have all the intentions in the world to keep getting better.”

Two players have more than 200 kills. Middle blocker Jewell Dobson leads the team with 233 and right side Brittnay Estes has 211. Both Dobson and Estes join Spitznagle as the tri-captains of the team.

Spitznagle has 154 kills followed by outside hitter Lauren Anderson with 135, outside hitter Chloe Rogers with 117 and outside hitter Carly Nusbaum with 106.

“We have so many options and so many weapons,” Spitznagle said. “It is incredible.

“No one is the star of the show. And that is cool because I think all of us came from a background where we were the stars of the show. It is cool to see the selflessness of every single individual on the team.”

Many teams talk the talk about being unselfish, but the Bisons are only interested in winning and they truly don’t care who leads the way to victory.

“Someone pointed it out that if you look at pictures of us celebrating during a game no one can tell who just got the kill or the ace because we are all so excited for each other,” Spitznagle said. “We have the same goals so as long as we get to those goals it doesn’t matter how we are getting there.

“I think that Brandon (Coach Brandon Rosenthal) instills in us a humbleness. This isn’t about you. It is about us. And everyone has bought in. If one person had not bought in it wouldn’t be the same.”

Several freshmen are getting playing time this season with Lauren Anderson and Nusbaum getting the bulk of the playing time among the first year players. Rogers, defensive specialist Jenny Phelan and libero Brittany Thomas have all filled major roles after seeing limited action their freshmen years.

“It is cool to see six freshmen buying in every day,” Spitznagle said. “It is cool to see me, Jewell and Brittnay not be on a pedestal and being great with that situation. This program is not about one person, or about one superstar, and that is what makes it great.

“We have welcomed the younger girls in. I think that is what this program is about. Everyone can get the glory. No one knows who will be a player of the week. It could be any of us. We pass the baton around to everyone and it is something we are all happy to do.”

Four players have more than 100 digs. Thomas is tops on the team with 292. Estes has 177 followed by Lauren Anderson with 168 and setter Kayla Ostrom with 142. Phelan needs only two more digs to reach 100.

“Brandon does a great job of recruiting players who want to win,” Spitznagle said. “They know they are going into a program where they are not going to be the only star and that is okay with them. There are so many girls who have been here before us and left their mark.

“But we want to leave a mark too. Instead of saying, `I am Molly and this is the mark I left’. I want to say this is the 2015-16 team and this is what we did. It is all about us. It has been that way since Brandon has been here, but I have seen it grow every year.”