|November 16, 2017||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Playing as the No. 4 seed in the ASUN Championship, the Lipscomb volleyball team opened up first round action with a dominating 3-0 (25-15-, 25-12, 25-15) win over No. 5 North Florida Thursday evening in Allen Arena.
“You first have to give credit to our girls as far as understanding what was laid in front of them and then going out and getting after it,” Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “I couldn’t be more proud from top to bottom. Our defense was just absolutely tremendous tonight. We created a lot of havoc and the attention to detail and the discipline was superb.
“North Florida is a scary team in the sense that there is a lot of fire power over there and they battled with us all season. I am glad we were able to get some distance midway through the second set. Overall I am really, really pleased with the performance out there tonight.”
The victory advances the BIsons to their 13th-consecutive appearance in the ASUN semifinals.
Lipscomb (16-12) was led by ASUN Player of the Year Carlyle Nusbaum who poured in a match-high 17 kills on just 29 attacks. The junior swung a season high .552, only committed one error and added nine digs.
“Carlyle’s offensive numbers tonight would jump out at anybody, as they should, but what I was impressed with the most was her defense,” Rosenthal said. “It was tremendous all match long.
“I’ve told a couple of people I think we are really just starting to see what she’s capable of. That is scary to think about. She is truly a special player.”
Sophomore middle blocker Maddie Phillips led the team by hitting .562 to go along with 11 kills, six digs, two service aces and three blocks.
“Maddie was a difference maker tonight and that’s what she is capable of on any given match,” Rosenthal said. “For her to come up with six digs is huge.”
Playing a big role in the victory both on the court and in the huddle was captains Brittany Thomas and Jenny Phelan. Thomas anchored a defense that played as well on Thursday as it had all season. She led the team with 11 digs and chipped in five assists.
Phelan saw limited action in all three games, but where she impacts the team the most is on the sideline and in the huddle. Coach Brandon Rosenthal praised her leadership after the match.
“I thought Brittany Thomas and Jenny Phelan really led the charge for us,” Rosenthal said. “Tommy was dominant on defense and with her on-court leadership while Jenny got into the timeouts early and said her peace. I was amazed with how they led the team tonight. It bodes well for us when you have captains who are able to get in and get things going.”
- Nusbaum increased her season kill total to 496. She needs four more kills to become the 11th player in ASUN single-season history to reach 500.
- Five players had six or more digs for the Bisons.
- Lauren Anderson notched six kills and seven digs, while Chloe Rogers added five and four.
- Lipscomb outhit UNF .281 to .021 and held the Ospreys to under a .140 clip in all three games.
- Morgan Elmore recorded a match high 32 assists. She also added eight digs.
- Lipscomb has posted at least 16 wins in every season dating back to 2006.
With the victory, the Bisons advance to the semifinals on Friday where they will play regular-season champion and No. 1 seed Kennesaw State at 5 p.m. The Owls took both meetings earlier in the season in five sets. In both matches, the Bisons had an opportunity to lock up the win with a match point in the fourth set of each.
“Kennesaw State is a program we know very well,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t have to get into the locker room and hype this one up. Both of our matches with them this season were great games, but unfortunately we came up on the short end both times.
“There is a lot of respect for each other and our girls know what it means to be in the positon. All year long we’ve been talking about the experience of this team and it has shown in their fight. Tomorrow we will have to fight from beginning to end. It’s going to be fun.”