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November 14, 20151st2nd3rdFinal
.371Hitting Pct..192
89Total Attacks99
ESTES - 11
KillsAKINS - 12
AssistsWELLER - 30
DigsDROST - 8
It's all about finishing strong for volleyball
Thursday, November 12, 2015
By Mark McGee
It's all about finishing strong for volleyball

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida trips are always nice, but the Lipscomb volleyball team has two things to check off the “to do” list on the last Atlantic Sun road trip of the season.

The Bisons have a share of the A-Sun regular season title, but they want sole possession of their fifth championship. They have to win at least one match to accomplish that goal. And if they do that they can also cross off the second item, 20 wins for the season. And if they do that it will be the eighth time they have won 20 or more matches in the last nine seasons.

Friday night at 6 the Bisons, 19-8, 11-1 in the A-Sun, visit Florida Gulf Coast, 20-9, 9-3 in the conference. Saturday afternoon Lipscomb ends the regular season with a 1 p.m. match at Stetson, 10-16, 4-8 in the A-Sun, in Deland, Florida.

The Bisons have won their last six matches.

“Our players know what is at stake here and they are ready to go,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “They were very focused in practice this past week. The girls have been very competitive in practice. It has been fun to watch. They want to win.

“We have carried that same attitude all through the season. This is just another weekend. We have the opportunity to play good teams and we will see how it goes.”

The 20-win plateau means a great deal to the program in terms of recruiting.

“That is kind of the magic number,” Rosenthal said. “Thirteen years ago we were sitting on four wins in my first season.

“It is a model of consistency. That is what I have always been interested in – not a one-and-done kind of thing. Twenty wins over multiple years says a lot about the program. We tell recruits not to look at what we have done in one year, but look at what we have done in the past and what we are poised to do.”

Right side Brittnay Estes with 321 kills and middle blocker Jewell Dobson with 312 lead the Bisons. Their per set averages are 3.15 and 3.18 respectively. Also posting more than 100 kills are outside hitter Carly Nusbaum (240), middle blocker Molly Spitznagle (203), outside hitter Lauren Anderson (189) and outside hitter Chloe Rogers (123).

Spitznagle has a .337 hitting percentage. Dobson is at .333. Spitznagle leads the team in blocks with 78, 22 solo.

Libero Brittany Thomas has 439 digs, an average of 4.30 per set. Also with 140 or more digs are Lauren Anderson (241), Estes (239), setter Kayla Ostrom (198) and defensive specialist Jenny Phelan (140).

Welcome to the program: Rosenthal and his staff signed two players for 2016-2017 – setter Morgan Elmore from Mercy Academy in Louisville, Kentucky; and middle blocker Maddie Phillips from Memorial High School in Houston, Texas.

Scouting FGCU: The Eagles lost 3-1 to Kennesaw State on the road in their last match. They have lost two of their last three matches.

Five Eagles have more than 100 kills. Amanda Carroll leads the way with 378, an average of 3.47 per set.

They have six players with more than 100 digs. Vanessa Benke is on top with 503, an average of 4.66 per set.

FGCU has only been beaten twice in three-set matches. The Bisons won 3-0 at Allen Arena Oct. 4.

Scouting Stetson: The Hatters have lost their last three matches and four of their last five.

Three Stetson players have more than 200 kills. Haley Tippet is the pacesetter with 297, 2.97 per set.

There are five Hatters with more than 100 digs. Michelle Kastner is first on the team in that category with 275, an average of 3.40 per set.

Madison Fitzsimmons has posted 106 blocks (22 solo), an average of 1.08 per set.

Series histories: The Bisons are 13-4 overall against FGCU. They are 17-1 overall against Stetson.

National numbers: Lipscomb is eighth in the nation in assists per set (13.75) and 12th in team assists (1,402).

The Bisons are 11th in kills per set (14.43) and 16th in team kills (1,472).

Ostrom continues to be a dominant player nationally. She is fourth in assists per set (12.09) and sixth in total assists (1,233).