NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Bisons started the second half of the Atlantic Sun Tournament schedule the same way they began the first half with a 3-0 sweep of NJIT.
Saturday afternoon on “Volleyball Alumni Day” at Allen Arena Lipscomb beat NJIT 25-11 in set one and then won sets two and three by 25-18 scores.
“In the second go-around it was pretty cool to see us take it up a notch,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “I thought we came out and set the tone early. We carried that through in set two.
“There were some weird things that happened in set three but knew what we were capable of and we did it. That is what is important.”
NJIT offered a much tougher challenge the second time around. The 3-0 win at Newark, New Jersey Sept. 25 marks the only time this season the Bisons have kept a team at 15 points or less for each set.
“NJIT played really hard,” Rosenthal said. “They made some great digs. I give credit to them for coming in and fighting. That is what you should expect from any conference opponent.
“We had one too many options for them. We settled in and did a nice job of finding the rhythm and we did that in the first set.”
A highlight of the match was the first appearance of the season for freshman middle blocker Calayci Coffey. She made an immediate impact in the first by recording a kill on her first play. One play later she added another. She played in all three sets and made six kills, one block and finished with a .625 hitting percentage.
“She is a ball of fire,” Rosenthal said. “She was sick for almost five weeks and has been back working out for about two weeks. She has a big personality and that is not an act. She is a bolt of energy for the rest of our team.
“We wanted to get her in earlier in the year but she was sick and she didn’t have an opportunity. She is getting back to her normal self. It was great to see her come in and do her thing. She works so hard. She does that every day in practice.
Outside hitter Carly Nusbaum led with a match-high 14 kills. She also posted a .444 hitting percentage. Right side Brittnay Estes added 12 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle led with a match-high .667 hitting percentage.
“Carly is another person we add to the depth of this team,” Rosenthal said. “She is just getting back into the rhythm of playing. There is no doubt she is going to help us down the stretch.”
The Bisons posted a .361 team hitting percentage. NJIT finished with at .120.
Setter Kayla Ostrom was the team leader in digs with nine.
The Bisons are 15-8, 7-1 in the A-Sun. NJIT falls to 6-18, 1-7 in the conference.
- The Bisons came into the NJIT match tied with FGCU which plays Stetson tonight.
“We have been in this situation for many years,” Rosenthal said. “It is real simple. We just have to focus on us.”
- Only playing one match this weekend offered a different dynamic for the Bisons. Instead of playing on a Friday night and getting a chance to rest Saturday and Sunday they played a single Saturday match.
“When you play a conference opponent you should play on Friday night,” Rosenthal said. “It would have given both teams a chance to take the rest of the weekend off and you don’t get too many chances to do that this late in the season.
“We unfortunately couldn’t make that happen. I am happy for our girls and we will enjoy the rest of the weekend.”
- Several former players attended the match. Prior to match they were guests at a brunch.
“It was great see so many of the girls back and all dress up,” Rosenthal said. “It wasn’t so long ago they were standing out there getting introduced in pregame.”
Some of the former players attending were Alex Kelly (2007-2010), Alex (Scruggs) Young (2004-2007), Abby (Fay) Stewart (2011), Caitlin “Dot” Dotson (2010-2014), Kaley (Mohr) Lyons (2006-2009), Amy Trykowski (2006-2009), Grace Gilmore (2004-2007), Kaycee Green (2009-2013), Jordan Huston (2011-2015), Jake (Pease) House (2007-2010), Julie (Holiday) Mason (2001-2005) and Claire Peterson (2010-2014).
Lipscomb hits the road for Halloween weekend with a match at USC Upstate Friday night at 5 and a stop at Kennesaw State Oct. 31 at 6. The only conference loss of the season for the Bisons is a 3-2 decision to Kennesaw State.
It will be the first bus trip of the year for the Bisons.