|November 21, 2015||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
BOYER - 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the top-seeded Lipscomb Bisons look across the net in the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Volleyball Tournament they will be looking at an all too familiar foe.
Friday night at 5 in Allen Arena the Bisons will be out to break a two-match loss streak to Jacksonville in postseason play. In both 2014 and 2013 the Bisons lost to Jacksonville in the championship match.
“There is a great history between us and Jacksonville,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “I’m not going to say it doesn’t have anything to do with who is on the other side of the net. It does.
“Right now though we are going to do what a lot of other teams are trying to do and that is to control our own side of the net and be able to make adjustments. We want them to leave it all out there.”
Rosenthal is positive his team is ready for the challenge. The winner will advance to play the winner of the 7:30 match between Florida Gulf Coast, the No. 2 seed and No. 3 seed Kennesaw State for the tournament championship Saturday at 3 p.m. Kennesaw State advanced with a 3-0 sweep of No. 6 Stetson Thursday night.
“We are excited,” Rosenthal said. “The girls are in a great spot. Everybody is ready to go. Right now it is about rest and getting their minds right.
“We had a great team dinner tonight. It was very loose and relaxed. What it is all about is the team and that is what we have focused on all week. We have been telling them to stay focused, play with passion and go for it. We have seen how good our team can be when we do all three of those things.”
Jacksonville, the No. 4 seed, advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 win over No. 5 North Florida Thursday night in the first round.
Emily Laskelle led with a match-high 19 kills and 62 total attacks. Four Dolphins were in double figures in digs with Mayara Prestes leading the way with 19 digs.
The Bisons swept the regular season series against Jacksonville with a 3-2 win on the road Oct. 10 and a 3-0 sweep at Allen Arena Nov. 6.
Jacksonville is 12-15 overall. The Bisons are 21-8 overall.
The match will be televised live on ESPN3.
- This is the fifth time the Bisons have entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed. They have advanced to the championship match the previous four times they were No. 1 and have a 2-2 record in those matches.
- This the third time the A-Sun volleyball tournament has been held at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.
In 2011, Lipscomb was the No. 2 seed and beat rival Belmont, the No. 1 seed, 3-0 for the title.
In 2012, No. 2-seeded Lipscomb fell to No. 3 ETSU 3-1 in the semifinals at Allen Arena.
- This is the 11 appearance in the A-Sun Tournament for the Bisons.
- The Bisons, who had a first round bye Thursday night, are 15-6 in A-Sun Tournament matches.
Some things you might not know
- Right side Brittnay Estes, the A-Sun Player of the Year, started her career as an outside hitter.
“It is funny how things turn out,” Rosenthal said. “It goes back to her sophomore year.
“Molly Spitznagle got hurt during warmups for the Kentucky match here. We had to move Claire Peterson to the middle to replace Molly.”
Peterson had been the starting right side. But with the move to the middle someone had to take her place. Estes was called on to fill the void.
“In some sense, if that injury doesn’t happen, do we ever stumble upon Brit playing the right side?” Rosenthal asked. “She became such a big threat for us on the right side. Things just fell into place.
“It was a big transition. She had played some right side before, but she had primarily played outside and she was just thrown into it. She dove into it head first and earned all the accolades she has received.”
Rosenthal stressed it is a rarity for an outside hitter to succeed as a right side because of the difference in the way balls come at you.
“There are very few who can play both outside and right side,” Rosenthal said. “I bet if you looked at 10 outsides maybe two could play the right side.”
- Kayla Ostrom, the A-Sun Setter of the Year, the assists leader across the board in the conference and in the top four nationally, was originally committed to Purdue to be a libero. When she decided to become a setter Lipscomb was ready to talk with her.
“Kayla had visited us on her own and we liked her because she was an all-around type of player,” Rosenthal said. “But we didn’t have a spot for her so we didn’t recruit her.
“When she changed her mind about her commitment to Purdue she said she wanted to be a setter. At that time we needed a setter. She had been a setter in high school some but we had not seen her set. We really said yes kind of on the spot as far as wanting to recruit her and bring her here.”
National numbers: Ostrom, the 2015 A-Sun Setter of the Year, is third in NCAA Division I in total assists with 1,322. She is fourth in assists per set with 12.02.
As a team Lipscomb is eighth in assists per set with 13.67 and 11th in total assists with 1,504.
The Bisons are 15th in kills with 1,580 and 15th in kills per set with 14.36.
They are 48th with a .250 hitting percentage.
A-Sun rankings: Ostrom leads the conference in both assists and assists per set overall and also in conference matches only with 625 assists and 12.50 assists per set.
Spitznagle is first overall (.347) and second in conference matches only (.344) in hitting percentage. Dobson is second overall (.340) and first in A-Sun matches (.434) in hitting percentage.
Estes is ninth overall (.284) and third in A-Sun matches (.328) in hitting percentage. Nusbaum is ninth in conference matches with a .290 hitting percentage.
Nusbaum is second overall in kills per set both overall (3.72) and in conference matches (4.56)
Estes is fifth overall in kills per set (3.15) and third in A-Sun matches only (3.72).
Dobson is sixth overall in kills per set (3.10) and eighth in A-Sun matches only (3.08).
Libero Brittany Thomas is third in digs per set overall (4.50) and also is third in A-Sun matches only (4.27). She is third overall in digs (470) and fourth in A-Sun matches (225).
Lipscomb finished the regular season in the lead in four categories in conference matches only – hitting percentage (.301), opponent hitting percentage (.157), assists (735, 14.70 per set) and kills (779, 15.58 per set).
Overall Lipscomb led the conference in three categories – hitting percentage (.250), kills and assists).