|September 16, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||Final|
ELMORE - 20
THOMAS - 2
Gregory - 14
PHILLIPS - 2
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Although the scoreboard might not show it, the Lipscomb volleyball team gave No. 3 Florida all it could handle Saturday night in the Gator Invitational.
Junior Carlyle Nusbaum recorded her 1,000th career kill, but it was not enough as the Gators staved off the pesky Bisons to claim a 3-1 victory at the O’Connell Center.
Florida improved to 7-0 on the season, while Lipscomb dropped 6-6.
“My favorite thing to take away from tonight was the way our girls played,” Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “They battled all match long, unfortunately, a ball here and there didn’t go our way. But there is nothing I would take back from tonight, not a single thing.
“The progression of this team this season has been impressive. To come back and play the way we have these last two weeks tells you the type of players we have in the locker room. That’s what this program is all about. Moral victories aren’t what we are here for, we are here to win championships.”
Nusbaum led the Bisons with 17 kills and 16 digs to give her a seventh double-double of the season. The big milestone came on her first kill of the fourth set.
“Anytime you hit a milestone it is awesome, but to do it in a match like this one just adds a cherry on top,” Rosenthal said. “I thought she played at a high level all night, from beginning to end. We expect nothing less from her.”
Sophomore middle Maddie Phillips finished with 10 kills and a team high .375 attack percentage, while junior Lauren Anderson chipped in eight kills and nine digs.
Providing a spark off the bench for Lipscomb, freshman Megan Kuper delivered the best match of her young career. The outside hitter totaled career highs across the board with eight points, seven kills and five digs.
“Truth be told, that’s why Kuper is here,” Rosenthal said. “She is so versatile and dynamic. To go into a big environment as an unexperienced player and perform the way she did was very impressive. She will be big in our success as the season moves forward.”
Sophomore setter Morgan Elmore controlled the offense, recording 20 assists and eight digs to just miss her second double-double of the year. Marcella Emmanuelli also added 20 assists.
Lipscomb jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, but behind a .440 hitting percentage, it was unable to hold off the Gators, 25-20. Florida again outhit the Bisons to secure a 25-16 win in the second set. The Blue and Orange hit .333 as a team with 14 kills on 25 attempts with just two errors.
Facing an 0-2 hole for the sixth time this season, the Bisons did not waiver. They instead hit a match high .325 and handed the Gators only their fourth set loss of the season at 25-19. Nusbaum led the way with five kills and five digs in the frame.
“That third set speaks volume to the character and quality of our team,” Rosenthal said. “We haven’t backed down all year, and we weren’t going to do that tonight. I thought we put pressure on them throughout. I thought it was one of our better sets of the season.”
After trading points to open the fourth set, Florida put together runs of 5-1 and 11-5 to complete a 25-16 victory and seal the match. The Gators outhit Lipscomb .273 to .000 and total 6.5 blocks in the stanza.
“This was perfect timing of when to play Florida because we were prepared,” Rosenthal said. “We really challenged ourselves this season with the opportunity to play some of the top competition in the country. I thought we have continued to get better and better with each match, so we were well prepared coming into this one tonight.”
- Lipscomb was outhit .300 to .178. That was the highest hitting percentage any team has recorded against the Gators this season.
- Florida had won 16 consecutive sets before Lipscomb claimed a victory in the third.
- Nusbaum needed just 65 career matches to reach 1,000 kills.
- Brittany Thomas finished with 13 digs. She has reached double figures in nine of the 12 matches.
- Thomas also added two aces in the loss. Half of her 14 aces on the season came this weekend in the Gator Invite.
- Carli Anderson hit .312 with six kills and only one error in 16 attempts. She chipped in two aces and two blocks also.
- Nusbaum now has five double-doubles in the last six outings. She had 10 all of last season.
- Nusbaum finished the Gator Invite with 49 kills and 31 digs.
- Florida’s 7-0 start is the best since winning 16 in a row to open 2007.
- The Gators set a season high with 16.5 blocks. 12 of those came from Rhamat Alhassan, the third highest single-match total in school history.
Lipscomb begins the conference portion of its schedule next week and fans could not ask for a better matchup. The Bisons will travel to Kennesaw State next Friday, September 22 for a 6 p.m. first serve.
“We prepared our team as well as any team in the country during the preseason schedule,” Rosenthal said. “We had some very tough games and the girls arose to the competition each time. They know the conference season is going to be a different animal and they will be ready.
“This is one of those deals where you have to change gears. We have to make sure we stay focused and more than anything, continue attacking the way we have the last two weeks. We know what’s ahead and the teams we are going to play.”