|September 12, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
KOWALKOWSKI - 9
ENGLE - 8
COFFEY - 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After spending the last two weeks on the road, the Lipscomb volleyball team was glad to be back home Tuesday night against Western Kentucky. Unfortunately for the Bisons, the Hilltoppers ventured into Allen Arena and escaped with a straight-set sweep 25-22, 25-14, 25-23.
The loss dropped Lipscomb to 4-5 while WKU won its sixth straight and improved to 10-2.
“Western Kentucky did a great job tonight and Travis (Hudson) is one heck of a coach, so we have to start off by giving them credit on executing their game plan,” Lipscomb head man Brandon Rosenthal said. “I thought we initially got off to a slow start and wasn’t as crisp as I would have liked.
“I did like our fight though. To lose sets one and three like we did was tough. We just have to execute better. It’s exciting because we are still in the matches against these great teams even when we aren’t playing our best, but we have to find a way to make them earn more of their points rather than give it to them.”
Losing their fourth match in a row the Bisons still did not have their best stuff. WKU limited Lipscomb to a .106 hitting clip and blocked 14 balls. The Toppers swung .295.
Lipscomb took the match’s first point, but from there WKU went on a 14-4 run to force Rosenthal to call his second timeout of the set. Whatever was said in the huddle must have clicked as the home team battled back to within two points four different times before the Toppers got the set-clinching kill from All-American Alyssa Cavanaugh.
The second set saw Lipscomb take an early lead once again at 4-1. However, Western Kentucky quickly closed the gap and then trotted out to a 20-10 lead to put the Bisons away. The visitors hit .458 in the set and recorded seven blocks.
Out of the intermission WKU raced out to a 16-11 advantage, its largest lead of the set. The Bisons clawed their way back into the set behind four kills each from Carli Anderson and Lauren Anderson to level the score at 22-22. After Lipscomb staved off a set point, WKU’s Rachel Anderson notched her seventh kill of the night to seal the victory.
“On a side note, I can’t say enough about the fans tonight, it was a tremendous atmosphere,” Rosenthal said. “They really came out and showed what Lipscomb volleyball can really be, as far as an environment goes. I want to thank each and every one of them and I can’t wait for us to get back in here with conference play.”
- Lipscomb falls to 1-10 in the all-time series with WKU and have not won since 2009.
- Carli Anderson led Lipscomb in kills for the first time this season with 11.
- Carlyle Nusbaum recorded her third consecutive double-double and her fifth of the season with 10 kills and 11 digs.
- Marcella Emmanuelli led the way with 16 assists, followed by Morgan Elmore with 15.
- WKU out blocked Lipscomb 14 to three and outhit the Bisons .295 to .106.
- The Hilltoppers recieved 19 votes in the latest AVCA Top-25 Poll, after falling out of the top 25 earlier this month.
The Bisons hit the road for the third time this season when they travel to Gainesville, Florida for the Gator Invitational. Lipscomb opens action Friday against Northern Kentucky and Florida A&M before capping the weekend against No. 3 Florida on Saturday.
“The easy thing is to focus on the negative after losing four in a row,” Rosenthal said. “We have to understand everyone is working hard and this is just part of the experience. No doubt not one of us want to go through this, but it is what it is. We have to do everything we can to keep the negativity out and we have to get better, tomorrow.
“I want us to understand that through the challenging times, we are going to find out who we are. I have no doubt that the staff and this group of players will come back hungry tomorrow with a lot of focus and energy. We need to focus on the positives and go forward. I love this team and what we have built here. What makes it so hard is we’ve seen them play at a very high level.