NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Quality is usually better than quantity and Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal expects his two recruits for the 2016-17 school year to be a future dynamic duo.
Morgan Elmore is a 5-foot-11 setter from Mercy Academy in Louisville, Kentucky. Maddie Phillips is a 6-foot-2 middle blocker from Memorial High School in Houston, Texas.
As the starting setter on the varsity for four seasons Elmore made a school record 4,945 assists and helped direct the Mercy team to a 142-21 record. She also accumulated 1,652 digs, 654 kills, 234 blocks and 110 aces.
“Morgan is one of the premier, and I mean premier, setters in the country,” Rosenthal said. “She has won a national championship at both the high school level and the club level.
“She understands the game extremely well. She plays at a very high level. It is fun to see someone of her caliber recognize what we have and want to jump in and make this program even better.”
Elmore was the team captain as a sophomore, junior and senior. She has won many awards in her career.
As a senior she was All-State First Team, All-Region, Region 6 Player of the Year and All-State Tournament. Her junior season she was named All-Region, and All-State Honorable Mention. In her sophomore year she was All-Region, All-State, a finalist for Sophomore of the Year, Prepvolleyball.com Honorable Mention All-American, All-State Second Team and All-Catholic Schools First Team.
She started her varsity career with selections as All-District, All-Region, All-State Tournament, and All-State Second Team as a freshman. She was a Top 25 finalist for Freshman of the Year, a Frosh 59 finalist and an All-American Honorable Mention all by Prepvolleyball.com.
Mercy was the Kentucky State Champion in Elmore’s junior year and also was picked as the National Champion by Prepvolleyball.com.
“Throughout her career Morgan continues to find herself running high-quality teams,” Rosenthal said. “She is known for her skills and for her game management. When you see her play it is easy to see why she has won so much.
“She is a competitor. My favorite part about Morgan is she makes the other players around her better. She has talented hitters but she makes them more talented. Our job is to always find a setter who will put our hitters in best -case scenarios.”
The Lipscomb volleyball team has been blessed with a series of strong setters. Rosenthal is certain Elmore is going to continue the excellence at the position.
“When you look at the line of setters we have had through the years Morgan is going to carry on the great tradition of directing a high-powered offense and as somebody who knows how to play the game at a high level,” Rosenthal said.
Phillips has put up strong numbers in a variety of categories and continues to elevate her level of play. In three high school seasons Phillips has 669 kills, 130 solo blocks, 171 block assists and 37 service aces.
Her awards include VYPE Magazine’s Fab 50 in 2015, Houston Chronicle Player of the Week for 2015, First Team All-District in 2015 and 2014 and the Kill Leader Award in 2014.
“Maddie is the epitome of you don’t understand recruiting until you go through it,” Rosenthal said. “We got a video of her. There are a few times that the videos turn out as you would hope, and this one did when we saw her play in person.
“We knew her club coaches. We made some calls. We immediately started watching her play and talking to her. She is one of those up-and-coming middles. She is going to be extremely explosive. She is tall, almost 6-3.”
What Rosenthal is looking forward to is challenging Phillips to continue to take her game to higher and higher levels.
“I think the best years are to come for Maddie,” Rosenthal said. “She is a very mature and driven athlete. She is somebody who is going to fit well into our system. She brings a tremendous amount of energy, not only on the court but the way she goes about her everyday life.
“She scores pretty well. She has a very fast arm. It is going to be fun because I think she has the motor that it takes to play in our gym and at our level. When push comes to shove she is going to be able to turn it on. She will be pushed every day and she is going to respond. That fast arm and her motor will give her a lot of opportunities to score.”