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September 01, 20161st2nd3rd4thFinal
LIPTeam StatsUT
.275Hitting Pct..349
138Total Attacks129
KillsNwanebu - 25
AssistsCollins - 43
AcesRounsaville - 2
DigsNwanebu - 11
Collins - 11
BlocksCollins - 6
Volleyball falls 3-1 to No. 3 Texas
Thursday, September 1, 2016
By Mark McGee
Volleyball falls 3-1 to No. 3 Texas

AUSTIN, Texas – The Lipscomb volleyball team didn’t take a full step, but it was at least three-quarters of one as the program works to reach new levels.

Lipscomb fell 3-1 to No. 3-ranked Texas on its home court at Gregory Gym Thursday afternoon. Texas is the highest-ranked opponent the Lipscomb program has faced.

“The team did a great job of executing the game plan,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “They laid it on the line. We had never been in a toe-to-toe match like this with a top-five team before.

“What I left the girls in the locker room with was the question, `what do we do with this experience?’.  That is up to them as far as how they grow and move forward. We have two more tough teams this weekend. I think our girls are in a great place.”

Win or lose, Rosenthal wanted to see his team compete. And compete they did.

“It was a great volleyball match played at a high level,” Rosenthal said. “We did a nice job. This is why we play the level of teams that we do.

“They can be disappointed. But by no means can they hang their heads.”

Lipscomb lost set one 25-19 and set two 26-24, but came back from the match break for a 25-22 win. Texas, the host, closed out the match with a 25-22 victory in set four.

“That’s the upbeat part of what we were trying to accomplish by coming down here - being in big matches and being able to compete regardless of the score and what was going on” Rosenthal said. “We gave up a seven-point stretch in the first set and we could have folded very easily.

“But we got momentum late in set one and carried it into set two. We have worked all preseason on the theory that we are always in matches.”

Lipscomb presented a balanced offensive attack with outside hitter Carlyle Nusbaum posting a team-high 16 kills. Right side Taylor Racich added 13 and right side Chloe Rogers finished with 11, including several key kills late in sets.

Middle blocker Katie Bradley posted a match-high .462 hitting percentage followed by Racich at .462 and Rogers at .400.

As a team Lipscomb hit .275 for the match, including 21 kills in set four.

“I was pleased with our attackers,” Rosenthal said. “I thought we served well. “But we need to block better. We could have used a couple of more blocks.”

Setters Kayla Ostrom and Morgan Elmore finished with 26 and 21 assists, respectively.

Libero Brittany Thomas posted a season-high 23 digs.

Ebony Nwanebu set the pace for Texas with a match-high 25 kills and a .458 hitting percentage.

“We had more than our fair share of chances to win (the match),” Rosenthal said. “We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to at times. You have to give credit to Texas for the pressure they put on us, especially in sets two and four.”

Lipscomb is 3-1. Texas is 2-1.

Season highs:  Racich, Bradley and Rogers all posted season highs for hitting percentage.

Rogers’s kills total is a season high and her first time in double figures this season. Racich tied her season high, as well as Bradley, who has seven kills twice this season.

Thomas set a season high in digs. She has been in double figures in digs in all four matches.

The history: Texas leads the series with Lipscomb 2-0.

Texas has only lost seven matches in Gregory Gym since 2007. This was the 140th victory on their home court since 2007.

Rogers is clutch: Rogers has made a habit this season of making kills in key situations.

“She is taking some big swings,” Rosenthal said. “She was huge in this match.”

Up next: The second day of the American Campus Classic has Lipscomb facing Army at 12:30 p.m. and Miami at 4:30 p.m. Friday.