NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Six Lipscomb volleyball players earned a total of eight awards announced Wednesday night at the banquet for the Atlantic Sun Volleyball Tournament.
Senior Brittnay Estes was named A-Sun Player of the Year and also was named to the A-Sun All-Conference First Team. She is the fifth player for Lipscomb to be named volleyball player of the year.
Junior Kayla Ostrom earned Setter of the Year honors and a spot on the All-Conference First Team.
Joining Estes and Ostrom on the All-Conference First Team was senior middle blocker Jewell Dobson.
Lipscomb led with three selections to the first team.
Senior middle blocker Molly Spitznagle earned a spot on the All-Conference Second Team.
Outside hitters Carly Nusbaum and Lauren Anderson were both selected for the All-Freshman Team.
Estes finished the regular season with 346 kills, an average of 3.72 per set and 254 digs. She also serves as one of the team captains. Estes was one of two unanimous selections by the conference coaches for the first team.
“When we saw Brittnay during the recruiting process there was that passion,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “It is not only the passion she plays with, but the passion in how she lives her life. She has poured her heart and soul into this program.
“I remember distinctly trying to decide between three players. They were all three good players. They all three had their intangibles but I could not get past Brit’s fire. I thought she could be a program changer and she has lived up to it. I am proud of her.”
Ostrom led the conference in total assists with 1,322, a career high, and an average of 12.02 assists per set. In conference matches she averaged 12.50 assists per set. She set a career match high Oct. 31 at Kennesaw State with 71 assists in 3-2 win.
Nationally she is fourth in assists heading into the tournament and third in assists per set.
“Kayla has quietly had one of the best offensive seasons as a setter could have – not just in the A-Sun but nationally,” Rosenthal said. “The lion’s share of attention has gone to our attackers. She is quietly building quite the career here.
“The bad is she didn’t get as much attention as she deserves. The good is she didn’t get as much attention as she deserves because she doesn’t want it. But anybody that competes wants to feel like the work they put in is appreciated. It is fun to see her peers and the coaches recognize what she does.”
Players improve the most in the offseason and Rosenthal points to Ostrom as a key example of that coaching maxim.
“No one works as hard in the summer as Kayla,” Rosenthal said. “She is constantly in the gym.
“I liken her to Eddie Ard (former basketball player). We would come back from a trip late at night and he would be on the court shooting in the dark in Allen Arena. When I first saw Eddie do that I wondered if we would have a volleyball player like that and we do with Kayla.”
Dobson is the second two-time selection to the conference first team in the history of the program. She is playing a fifth-season after missing most of last season as a medical redshirt. She also served as a captain this season.
Dobson finished second in the conference in hitting percentage overall at .340 and sixth overall in kills with 3.10 per set, 329 total. In conference matches only Dobson closed out the regular season with a conference leading .434 hitting percentage.
“Even though you are medically cleared from an injury you wonder what will happen,” Rosenthal said. “From the very first match she went out and performed. She has had a great season.
“I think for her she is living this life where at one point last year the injury was the worst thing that ever happened to her. Now at this point it may have been the best thing that ever happened to her. It is a happy story to see her get recognized.”
Spitznagle is sometimes overshadowed by teammates but she is a solid player. She led the conference overall with a .347 hitting percentage and was second in conference matches only at .344. She led the team in blocks with 85, 24 solo. She was a tri-captain this season as well.
“Molly has been working hard all year and quietly doing her part,” Rosenthal said. “We have looked for opportunities for her this season to expand her game.”
Nusbaum and Anderson stepped into starting roles as freshmen.
Nusbaum, despite dealing with injuries and missing part of the season, managed to finish second in kills per set in the conference (3.72) both overall and in conference matches (4.56). She made 268 kills overall.
“Carly put up unbelievable numbers,” Rosenthal said. “You are talking about a freshman outside hitter who had almost a .300 hitting percentage and almost five kills per set in conference matches.
“She missed six matches. When she came back she really put a statement on it.”
Anderson recorded 200 kills and was third on the team with 252 digs. She played in all 110 sets this season.
“Lauren has to win some kind of blue-collar award,” Rosenthal said. “The confidence she continues to play with and the way she continues to build offensively is great. It is a true indication of what is to come for her and this program.”
The Bisons also received their A-Sun regular season championship trophy finishing with a 13-1 record.