|December 04, 2015||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
Ngauamo - 14
Ngauamo - 2
LOS ANGELES – The more they thought about it the more difficult it was to hold back the tears. It was not the way the Lipscomb volleyball team wanted the season to end.
Friday night at the John Wooden Center the Bisons faced No. 14-seed UCLA. A shaky first set resulted in a 25-10 defeat, but the Bisons rallied to play a competitive set two in a 25-22 loss. They closed out the match with a 25-15 loss in the NCAA First Round.
“It was an off night for us and unfortunately that off night concludes the season,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “In the first set we could not get into a rhythm. We didn’t play well at all.
“The first set was tough. It surprised me. We might have played like that maybe once in the middle of the year. I thought we were prepared. Everyone was in good spirits.”
“I was really impressed with what we did in the second set. In the third set they got up on us a couple of points but we never recovered from that even though we did some nice things.”
UCLA advances to face Michigan in the second round Saturday. Michigan defeated Santa Clara 3-1.
Freshman outside hitter Carly Nusbaum led the Bisons with 11 kills. She made six of them in set two.
“I was definitely nervous at the beginning, but I thought about it and I had 14 other girls who I know had my back and I had theirs. The first set didn’t go very well and I decided I wanted to do all I could to help my team.
“We have come a very long way since the beginning of the season and that is all we can ask for – to be a team and have the coaching staff we have. We are a team and that is all we can ask for.”
Senior middle blocker Molly Spitznagle closed out her career with six kills and .250 hitting percentage. She was credited with one block assist.
“It was very tough,” Spitznagle said. “It was not the way we wanted to go out. There are the `what ifs’ but we can’t let this take away from the season.
“Each one of these girls worked extremely hard. But that is how life is. I am extremely blessed. This program is extremely important for me. This team is always going to be very special to me.”
Lauren Anderson, a freshman outside hitter, made six kills and posted a team-leading .444 hitting percentage.
“I thought Carly and Lauren Anderson did a nice job all night,” Rosenthal said. “We have two freshman outside hitters starting in the NCAA Tournament and that is special.
Libero Brittany Thomas led the Bisons with seven digs.
Lipscomb finishes the season 23-9. UCLA is 24-7.
“We will take this and learn from it,” Rosenthal said. “If they are willing to learn they are willing to get better. As I told the girls, and we have been able to say this for quite a few years in a row, the future looks bright.
“We have to look at the whole season. This match was not an indication of what we can do. UCLA is very good team and they did some nice things. We didn’t knock on the door tonight, but I feel like we will get back to the tournament again and have that opportunity.”
- Nusbaum was the only Lipscomb player in double figures in kills.
- The Bisons have lost in the first round each of the six times they have played in the NCAA First Round.
- Tri-captains Brittnay Estes, Jewell Dobson and Spitznagle played in their last games for Lipscomb.
“I thank Molly, Brit and Jewell for everything they have given to this program – not only wins but so much more than that. Who they are, and what they represent, mean a lot.
“We lose three huge figures and not just volleyball wise. We lose three huge personalities. It is hard to put into words what they have meant to me and this program. We have to celebrate these seniors and get back and start again in January. Right now, it is bittersweet.”
- Freshman middle blocker Calayci Coffey was called into the match in the third set and made a kill on the first play after she entered the court.
“Calayci came in and gave us a burst of energy that we needed,” Rosenthal said. “I would imagine she didn’t know if she was going to go in. I am proud of her.”