NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was a classic college volleyball match and no one expected less when Lipscomb and Belmont stepped on the court at Allen Arena for the second round of the “Battle of the Boulevard”.
In a match filled with momentum shifts Lipscomb prevailed 3-2 Tuesday night. After fighting back to tie the match at 2-2 the Bisons put the finishing touch on the match with a 15-11 win in set five.
Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal was looking for a spark and right side Brittnay Estes burned brighter than anyone. With the Bisons leading 11-9 Estes strung together four kills to close out the fifth set.
“It was great to see Brittnay demanding the ball,” Rosenthal said. “Kayla Ostrom (setter) trusted her. There was no doubt about it where the ball was going. Brittnay wanted it and Kayla knew it. Brittnay did some fantastic things there at the end.”
Estes finished the match with a team-high 20 kills and a .425 hitting percentage.
“Every time Britt goes out she pours her heart into it,” Rosenthal said. “We knew we were going to get everything she had every time she goes out there.”
Estes, as a co-captain, knows at times she isn’t going to be popular with her teammates on the court.
“The main thing was serve-receive and putting the ball away,” Estes said. “You have to pass and you have to put the ball away. That was the main difference in set one and set two.
“My role is to bring energy and drive to this team. Sometimes I have to be the bad guy but I do it with love because we want to win.”
Belmont won set one 25-15. Lipscomb came back to tie the match with a 25-15 victory. Set three went down to the wire with Belmont rallying for a 26-24 decision. Lipscomb answered in set four with a 25-20 win setting the stage for the fifth set.
“Sets count the same,” Rosenthal said. “I know as observers we sometimes don’t recognize that.
“I wasn’t happy with the way we played, but it was over and done with. I was mad, but I had to swallow everything I had in me. At the end of the day set two was the same as set one.”
Middle blocker Jewell Dobson was one of the leaders in the second set with seven of her 13 kills for the match.
“Set two was exactly what we wanted to do in set one,” Rosenthal said. “We went in at the break and we had to focus on the third set. We did, but we still have to solve the problem of being up and not finishing.
“The girls came back in a really tight fourth set. Our backs were against the wall. I expected us to pull away in set four, but we didn’t. I was proud of our girls of being able to finish in set five.”
Also in double figures in kills was outside hitter Carly Nusbaum with 17.
“You have to remember she has missed almost a quarter of the season,” Rosenthal said. “As soon as we can get her some more reps she is going to be a dominant player.
“She hits the ball so hard and that is fun to see because she is only a freshman. She is so explosive. We have only seen the tip of what Carly Nusbaum can do.”
Setter Kayla Ostrom made 54 assists, 17 in the crucial second set, and finished with a .400 hitting percentage.
Libero Brittany Thomas made a match-high 21 digs. Defensive specialist Jenny Phelan added 10.
Only one Belmont player finished in double figures in kills as Arianna Person made a match-high 22.
Lipscomb is 14-8 overall. Belmont slips to 9-11.
- Lipscomb won both matches with Belmont this season with each one going to five sets.
- No final attendance figure was given, but Rosenthal estimated the crowd, which was loud and enthusiastic, as close to 2,000 fans.
“This is what a rivalry should be,” Rosenthal said. There were students and kids going crazy. The crowd was awesome.”
- The Bisons took over the lead in the series 13-12.
- Thomas has more than 20 digs in six matches this season including three of the last four.
- Ostrom has more than 50 assists in a match seven times this season.
- It was the second 3-2 match in a row for the Bisons who lost Sunday to Kennesaw State. In five-set matches the Bisons are 4-2.
- Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle finished with a match-high .462 hitting percentage.
Lipscomb has only one Atlantic Sun match this weekend when NJIT visits to open the second half of the conference schedule at Allen Arena. The match will begin at noon and can be seen live on ESPN3.