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December 04, 20151st2nd3rdFinal
.104Hitting Pct..494
96Total Attacks79
KillsBuechler - 14
Ngauamo - 14
AssistsMuno - 30
AcesFormico - 2
Ngauamo - 2
DigsFormico - 10
BlocksFelix - 4
Lipscomb ready for NCAA volleyball challenge at UCLA
Friday, December 4, 2015
By Mark McGee
Lipscomb ready for NCAA volleyball challenge at UCLA

LOS ANGELES – Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal is always looking for challenges for his team and he has found a major one.

The Bisons will face UCLA Friday night at 10 p.m. CT at the John Wooden Center in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Santa Clara and Michigan meet in the first match at 7:30 CT.

“UCLA is one of those programs that regardless of where you are from is synonymous with greatness,” Rosenthal said. “With that being said we respect their history, but we ourselves are focused on writing our story as well.

“Our girls have not shown any intimidation toward an opponent all year and I don't expect this match to be different. As our recruiting efforts and the profile of our recruits have increased over the years, the girls have become very accustomed to playing at a high level in search of the junior volleyball national championships.”

Anderson leads UCLA in kills 485 and kills per set with 4.49. Reily Buechler with 333 kills averages 3.40 per set.

UCLA is double-trouble at the setter position with Zano Muno with 10.17 assists per set and Ryan Chandler with 10.00 assists per set.

Taylor Formica leads UCLA is 507 digs.

“UCLA poses some challenges with their height at the middle blocking position, but we had planned for that through our out of conference scheduling,” Rosenthal said. “One of the tougher matchups will be against UCLA outside hitter, Jordan Anderson, because of the range and power she shows attacking-wise we will have to stay disciplined on defense. The serve/pass game will be vital in helping to apply some pressure as the match continues.”

The match: Lipscomb will face UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the John Wooden Center. The winner advances to the second round to face either Santa Clara or Michigan.

The Bisons, 23-8, have won their last 10 matches in a row, including two victories on the way to the Atlantic Sun Tournament Championship. UCLA, 23-7, finished fourth in the Pac-12. They received an at-large bid for the tournament.

A free live stream will be available.

The series: This is the first meeting between Lipscomb and UCLA in a volleyball match.

The Bisons have previously played four Pac-12 teams. On Aug. 29 this season Lipscomb beat then No. 23-ranked Utah 3-1 on its home court in Salt Lake City.

UCLA beat Utah 3-0 this season.

Lipscomb is 1-5 against Pac-12 teams. They are 1-1 against Utah, 0-2 against Arizona, 0-1 against Arizona State and 0-1 against California.

The only time Lipscomb has played a Pac-12 team in the NCAA Tournament was a 3-0 loss to California in 2009.

Since 1998 UCLA is 16-0 in first round matches in the NCAA Tournament. This is their 333rd appearance. The Bruins are 83-29 overall in the tournament.

NCAA history: This is the sixth time the Bisons have earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament and their second year in a row. Last season they made conference and program history by becoming the first A-Sun volleyball team to receive an at-large invitation to the tournament.

Lipscomb is 0-5 in the NCAA Tournament, losing in the first round 3-0 last year to Ohio State. In 2011 they fell to Texas A&M 3-1. In 2010 they lost to Ohio State 3-1. In 2007, the first appearance for Lipscomb in the NCAA Tournament, was a 3-0 loss to Dayton.

A-Sun in NCAA: The last time an A-Sun team won a match in the NCAA Tournament was UCF which beat Cincinnati 3-2 in 2003.

The RPI: The Bisons are 50th in this week’s NCAA Division I RPI, while UCLA is ranked 11th, Michigan is 31st and Santa Clara is 37th. Lipscomb has six wins this season against current top-101 RPI-rated teams.

All-Conference honors: Senior outside hitter Brittnay Estes claimed Atlantic Sun First Team All-Conference recognition after being named the league’s Player of the Year - the fifth player in Lipscomb’s history to earn the top honor. Junior Kayla Ostrom brought home Setter of the Year honors and a spot on the All-Conference First Team, while senior middle blocker Jewell Dobson was also named 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 to the All-Freshman Team.

Ostrom was also named Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She was a unanimous selection to the A-Sun Conference All-Academic Team. Senior middle blocker Jewell Dobson also earned a place on the team.

Estes was also named the A-Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player. Ostrom and Dobson were also named to the All-Tournament team.

Double, double Bisons are trouble: Estes leads the team with nine double-doubles and one triple double this season. She had 13 double-doubles and one triple-double last season. Ostrom is second with eight double-doubles, while Nusbaum and Lauren Anderson each have five.

Match success: Lipscomb is 11-4 in 3-0 matches, 6-2 in 3-1 matches and 6-2 in 3-2 matches.

Key stats: Lipscomb middle blocker has 97 blocks. She is four short of her season career record of 101 set last season.

Ostrom’s 71 assists against Kennesaw State on Halloween is the second-highest total in a match in Lipscomb’s NCAA history.

In the Nov. 14 match at Stetson, Dobson became the third Bison to reach 1,500 career kills. She currently stands seventh on the A-Sun’s all-time kills chart with 1,531 and needs 22 more to move up to sixth. She has been in double figures in kills in 16 of her last 20 matches.

Ostrom ranks in the top five in the NCAA with 12.10 assists per set and 1,416 total assists.

Three Lipscomb players average more than 3.00 kills per set. Nusbaum has 3.68 followed by Estes at 3.19 and Dobson at 3.14.

Kirk Downs also contributed to this story.