|September 09, 2016||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
“Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.” Clint Eastwood, The Outlaw Josey Wales
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – it was definitely not a life or death situation for the Lipscomb volleyball team. But in order to prevail against Northwestern they had to get tough and mean.
The Lady Bisons closed out the four-match first day of the Lipscomb Invitational with a grinding 3-1 win over Northwestern from the Big 10 Friday night at Allen Arena.
Lipscomb is 6-2. Northwestern falls to 5-3.
“I told our players at the break that it was going to be a street fight and we were going to have to battle with them,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “In the end all of the stuff we do in the weight room, in conditioning and in practice puts us in a position to win.
“I think it was the most grinding match we have played this season. The Texas match was a little bit cleaner. Sometimes the harder part is to play a match when it doesn’t make any sense. You look at the numbers on this match and you just scratch your head. We had to find a way. At the end the only letter that matters is a `W’.”
Earlier in the day Lipscomb swept Ole Miss from the Southeastern Conference 3-0.
Lipscomb opened with a 32-30 win in set one but Northwestern rebounded in set two for a 25-16 decision. Lipscomb came back from the break to win set three 25-20 and then closed out the match with a 25-23 victory.
“Northwestern did a great job of taking away our energy in the second match, but it takes three sets to win,” Rosenthal said. “We said let’s focus on getting that energy back and build on it.
“We almost let it slip away in set three at the end. It was 20-20 and we scored five straight points. In set four it got a little touch and go but being tired and playing two matches in a day is going to affect that.”
Saturday they close out the Invite facing Virginia Tech, 4-4, at 2:30. Ole Miss and Northwestern open the day with a 12:30 p.m. match. It is the second straight week Lipscomb has played an Atlantic Coast Conference team. The Hokies lost Friday to Northwestern and Ole Miss.
“We have to get greedy against Virginia Tech,” Rosenthal said. “We scheduled three teams and we want to get three wins. Virginia Tech is going to be hungry.”
Outside hitter Carlyle Nusbaum became the first Lipscomb player this season to record a double-double with a match-high 19 kills and 15 digs.
“Carlyle was tremendous in set four defensively and offensively,” Rosenthal said. “We talked about in set four that we had to get grittier and get dirty. We had to outwork them and the girls responded.”
Right side Taylor Racich also finished in double figures in kills with 12.
Libero Brittany Thomas led Lipscomb with 16 digs. She also led the team with a pair of service aces.
“I thought Brittany’s serves were really on point,” Rosenthal said. “And the passing between Lauren Anderson, Brittany and Jenny Phelan was solid.”
Northwestern’s Katie Kniep posted a match-high 21 digs. Symone Abbott led Northwestern with 11 kills.
“This is exactly what we signed up for in the sense of playing good teams from tough conferences and finding ways to win,” Rosenthal said. “This was a good stepping stone to what I think could be something pretty special.”
- Lipscomb has only swept the Lipscomb Invitational one time, a 3-0 finish in 2013. Last season the Lady Bisons were 2-1.
- Lipscomb evened the overall record with Northwestern at 1-1.
- Nusbaum has recorded double figures in kills in all eight matches. She has been the match leader six times.
- Thomas has double figures in digs in all eight matches. She has been the match leader seven times, including at tie for the lead against Pepperdine.
- Middle blocker Katie Bradley made three blocks, one solo.
Up next: Lipscomb heads to Kentucky Sept. 16 and 17 to face Louisville and the University of Kentucky.