Volleyball earns share of ASUN regular season title
Saturday, November 12, 2016
By Mark McGee
Volleyball earns share of ASUN regular season title

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It was time to celebrate as the Lipscomb volleyball team closed out the regular season with a share of the ASUN Conference championship, 20 wins for the regular season and the No. 1 seed in the ASUN Tournament.

This is the 12th straight trip to the ASUN Tournament for Lipscomb. It is the sixth regular season title, the third in a row. And it is the ninth season with 20 or more victories. Kennesaw State tied for first place at 12-2, but Lipscomb won the top seed on a tie-breaker with a 3-2 set record.

“It means a lot from the standpoint of the grind of regular season conference play,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “There has been a ton of pressure on these girls and the pressure is exactly what we want. If there wasn’t pressure then we weren’t doing the right things to begin with.

“It is great to see them get rewarded. We work hard. The staff does an unbelievable job of executing the game plan and getting the girls to play to the best of their abilities. It is special when you see them play at the highest level.”

The ASUN regular season opened with a 3-2 home loss to Kennesaw State. The Bisons would only lose one more regular season ASUN match, but Rosenthal is certain some observers were wondering if Lipscomb could do it again.

“There are probably a lot of people who questioned at times if this was going to be the year,” Rosenthal said. “But our girls really battled through.

“I’ll tell you what I am the most proud about and that is how we played through this stretch. We really put our focus on. We forgot about the score and just played our way. And that is hard to do too because you can get caught up in it.”

The Bisons swept North Florida 3-0 Saturday evening at Allen Arena. It was the 10th match win in a row for Lipscomb.

Lipscomb won set one 25-15, set two 25-21 and set three 25-12.

The Bisons are 20-7, 12-2 in the ASUN. North Florida finishes the regular season 18-13, 8-6 in the conference.

Outside hitter Carlyle Nusbaum completed her second double-double in a row with 24 kills and 10 digs. Both were match highs.

Gabby O’Connell had 12 of North Florida's 28 kills.

Lipscomb setters Kayla Ostrom and Morgan Elmore combined for 40 assists.

Lauren Anderson and right side Taylor Racich each had three service aces.

The Bisons hit .418 for the match. Nusbaum led with a .568 hitting percentage followed by outside hitter Lauren Anderson at .533 and middle blocker Maddie Phillips at .417.

“The girls have been phenomenal…just unbelievable,” Rosenthal said. “It is really neat to see them get recognized like they were in this match because they have earned it.

“It is a matter of perception and what we are able to do. To be at the top is something we are accustomed too. I am happy the girls battled to make it happen again. A lot of things had to fall into place, and they did, but the fight was there for us all along.”

Quick hitters:

  • Nusbaum has eight double-doubles in kills and digs for the season.
  • Nusbaum has six matches with 21 or more kills and has been in double figures in kills in 26 matches this season.
  • Nusbaum set a personal season match high for hitting percentage.
  • Lipscomb has only lost one set in its last five matches.
  • The Bisons have won eight ASUN matches 3-0 this season. They swept North Florida in both meetings and hold a 16-3 record in the series.
  • Lipscomb has not lost to North Florida in Allen Arena since the 2006 season.

Next up: The Bisons will play this week in the ASUN Tournament at Allen Arena. The tournament starts Thursday with the championship match is scheduled for Saturday. Lipscomb will not play until Friday.