NASHVILLE – The 2018 Lipscomb volleyball season is officially underway as the Bisons held their first two practices of fall camp Wednesday in the Student Activities Center on campus.
The team was forced to move practice next door to the SAC as the floor of Allen Arena is still undergoing the instillation process.
Head coach Brandon Rosenthal enters his 16th season with the program and, unlike last season, welcomes back a roster that is loaded with experience. Of the 12 returnees from the 2017 squad, seven made at least 12 starts and four saw action in 100-plus sets.
“We’ve got quite a bit of depth and that something we haven’t had in our program the past couple years. But it is going to be fun this year to be able to utilize that depth to our advantage.
The team’s heartbeat runs through two-time defending ASUN Player of the Year Carlyle Nusbaum, who begins her final year wearing the purple and gold. The Overland Park, Kansas native led the conference with 522 kills and 556.5 total points.
Returning alongside Nusbaum will be starting outside hitters Lauren Anderson and Carli Anderson, setters Morgan Elmore and Marcella Emmanuelli, and middle blockers Ca’Layci Coffey and Maddie Phillips. Senior Coffey and junior Megan Sullivan were voted team captains for 2018.
Joining the program this season will be three talented newcomers, all freshmen, who are expected to contribute early.
Libero Alexis Triplett adds depth on the defensive side of the net, while Logan Gish and Lanie Wagner provide a height on the outside as the tallest hitters on the squad at 6-2 and 6-1, respectively.
“The first two practices, we’ve tried to focus on discipline,” Rosenthal said. “I thought that’s where we broke down some last year. It slows the pace in practice having to go over the basics, but it’s going to be beneficial for us in the end.”
After reaching the finals of the ASUN Championship in nine of the previous 10 seasons, the Bisons failed to get there in 2017, falling to top-seed and eventual champion Kennesaw State 3-1. With a 16-13 overall mark and an 8-6 record in league play, Lipscomb’s 4th-place standing was the program’s lowest since also finishing fourth in 2007.
“Any time we went through a challenging moment last year, it seemed to take all season for us to work through it and it presented questions. So, we spent the last nine months dissecting and finding a way to get beneath the outer layer. We want to reestablish the things that have made us a special program.”
The Bisons will hold practice over the next 10 days prior to its only exhibition on the schedule, when they travel to Knoxville on August 18 to play Tennessee. Lipscomb will then open the regular season a week later on August 24-25 with their annual two-day LUV Invitational, playing two matches against SMU and Iowa.
Tickets for the matches are on sale and can be purchased HERE.