|September 22, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||Final|
JONES - 13
KENNESAW, Ga. – In an anticipated match between two of the top powers in the ASUN Conference, Lipscomb volleyball dropped a heart-breaking five setter to Kennesaw State (7-3, 1-0) Friday night in the league opener for both teams at the KSU Convocation Center.
The Bisons (6-7, 0-1 ASUN) looked poised to pull off the road victory after having match-point in the fourth set, but Kennesaw State fought hard to win the next three points and send it to a fifth. With a shift in momentum, the Owls built a seven-point lead right out of the gate and cruised to a 15-7 victory to clinch the match.
“Obviously anytime you lose in a match like this where you work hard, it’s disappointing,” Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “Ultimately, the issue is us and our inability to finish plays and sets. Our girls really worked hard and we had plenty of opportunities, but when you have something in front of you, we have to be willing to take it. Today we didn’t.
“Kennesaw did a nice job of battling back and seizing the opportunity. Any time you get into a high-level match, the ebbs and flows are really tough. We did not manage those at the end and it’s something we have to get better at.”
Lipscomb entered the night 10-0 all-time against KSU on the road.
Kennesaw State used the energy from the crowd to build a 5-0 lead early on in the first, but after the teams traded runs throughout, it was Lipscomb who had the first set point at 25-24. The Owls killed off the decision for the first of six combined set points staved off before ultimately winning the frame 31-29 on back-to-back attack errors from the Bisons.
The second frame saw KSU jump out to a 5-1 lead, but battle-tested Lipscomb settled in and began attacking. Ten of the next 12 points were kills by Carlyle Nusbaum, Ca’Layci Coffey and Maddie Phillips. The Purple and Gold then reeled off a 12-4 run to win the set and go into the locker room tied 1-1. Nusbaum finished with seven kills in the stanza.
The third played close with neither team building a lead of more than two points before Lipscomb got a kill from Chloe Rogers to win 25-22 and go up 2-1 in the match.0
The fourth frame was a lot like the third with a game-high 14 ties and six lead changes. Unfortunately for Lipscomb, the set and the match got away. The Bisons had three possessions with match point after going on top 24-22. KSU then got three kills from its top hitter, Anaiah Boyer, before taking advantage of back-to-back attack errors from the Bisons to win 27-25. Nusbaum finished with 10 kills in the set.
“I thought we broke the huddle before the fifth set with a clear message, ‘this is a new set’,” Rosenthal said. “But I didn’t think we did a great job of communicating and we weren’t aggressive enough. Kennesaw sensed that and they turned their play up. We have to be able to switch gears there.”
Looking at the numbers, Lipscomb gave Kennesaw State nearly have of its points in errors. The Bisons committed 34 errors on attacks and a season high 20 on serving.
“The number of errors doesn’t necessarily alarm me as much, but what does is when those errors came and the type that they were,” Rosenthal said. “I didn’t feel like throughout the match that we were making the adjustments to our serve that we needed to. We have given our girls a green light to serve tough, but unfortunately tonight it got the best of us.
“Errors are a part of the game, but we can’t keep coming back to this same thing where we are saying, ‘hey we are okay, we have to limit our errors’. We have to find a way. Until that changes there is a possibility we are going to be in these situations more than we want and that’s a tough thing.”
The stars of the night for Lipscomb offensively were Nusbaum and Phillips. Nusbaum recorded 27 kills and 11 digs while Phillips poured in a career high 20 kills behind a .412 hitting percentage.
“Our game plan for the past couple weeks have been getting Maddie the ball more,” Rosenthal said. “She was doing a great job and our setters did a fantastic job of finding her. We got good play by our middles overall.
“There is a lot of good stuff when you start picking individual performances, but this is a team game and we have to harbor this loss as a group.”
It marked the first time since October 10, 2015 that Lipscomb had two players with 20+ kills in the same match. On that night it was Brittnay Estes and Jewel Dobson who collected 32 and 21, respectively, against Jacksonville.
- Lipscomb is now 8-2 in its last 10 ASUN openers. Both losses were to KSU in each of the past two seasons.
- The match saw 46 ties and 20 lead changes.
- Lipscomb outhit KSU .226 to .192.
- Nusbaum now has eight double-doubles on the year, including six in her last seven outings. She had 10 all of last season.
- Brittany Thomas dug out a season high 23 balls. She nearly missed a double-double with a season high nine assists.
- Lauren Anderson added a season high 16 digs. She also finished one off her career high with three aces.
- Marcella Emmanuelli assisted a career high 33 times. That is the most by any Bison this season.
- Morgan Elmore also recorded 27 helpers to go along with eight digs.
- Carli Anderson led the team with six blocks. Coffey added five and Phillips four.
Lipscomb returns home next weekend for a pair of ASUN matches. On Friday the Bisons will host Stetson at 6:30 p.m. before entertaining FGCU the next day at 5 p.m.
“This is one of those losses where I think it’s going to sting for a bit,” Rosenthal said. “And as a coach I don’t mind it stinging, but we can’t harbor over it forever. We have to get better from it. I have no doubt these girls are going to come back from this, they are a special bunch.”