|September 07, 2018||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Despite what the scoreboard showed, the Lipscomb volleyball team gave No. 19 Purdue all it could handle Friday night in the Stacey Clark Classic.
Sophomore Megan Kuper recorded a career high 14 kills, but it was not enough as the Boilermakers staved off the Bisons to claim a 3-0 victory in front of 2,158 fans at Purdue’s Holloway Gymnasium.
Purdue remains unbeaten at 7-0, while Lipscomb dropped to 3-4.
“I loved what I saw tonight as far as growth and development and I love what we are doing as a team and as a coaching staff, it’s encouraging,” Lipscomb volleyball head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “The environment was exactly what we signed up for.
“They (Purdue) do a great job of getting big crowds, and that’s what you get with any program from the Big Ten as it’s one of the best in the country."
Kuper not only led the Bisons in kills, she also swung a team high .520, the second-highest mark of her career. The sophomore committed just one error on 25 swings and chipped in five digs.
“This is definitely not a surprise,” Rosenthal said. “But the nice part about Kuper is that she’s performing well on a couple of different levels. The word on the street during her recruitment process was just how steady of a player she was.
“Tonight was a tremendous performance from her. She continues to get better and better each time out. When you have someone competing and executing at such a high level, it puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”
After Maddie Phillips punched back-to-back kills in the first set to pull the Bisons ahead 9-8, Purdue put together a 6-0 run behind a pair of aces to go up 14-9, a lead it would never relinquish. Lipscomb battled back to within one on a tandem block from seniors Lauren Anderson and Ca’Layci Coffey, before the Boilermakers got a set-clinching kill on the next play.
Set two saw the Bisons work a quick three-point advantage out of the gate to a 12-10 lead after Anderson and Carlyle Nusbaum registered kills. That would be the final lead of the set for Lipscomb as it shot itself in the foot with six service errors. Nearly every time the Bisons managed to regain any momentum, an error would creep up and halt the run.
“Unfortunately tonight was just an off-serving night,” Rosenthal said. “If you’ve been around the game enough, you know sometimes you just have those kinds of nights and the harder you try to stop it, the harder it becomes to stop. We won’t focus on that too much.”
Purdue picked up 10 of the final 13 points to take the frame and a 2-set advantage.
In the final set it was Lipscomb again capturing the early lead. Kuper and Nusbaum combined for three-straight points to go up 4-2. Kuper recorded a third consecutive kill for the Purple and Gold a few points later to pull even at 5-5.
The Boilermakers scored the next eight points and turned it into a match-sealing 20-7 run behind a .632 hitting percentage with 13 kills on 19 swings.
“Our hope is that we get to a point where we are playing in the NCAA Tournament and that’s not the first time we’ve gone against that level of play and or that environment,” Rosenthal said. “
- Kuper reached double figures in kills for the second in her career after notching 13 against Iowa on Aug. 25.
- Nusbaum was the only other Bison to reach double figures in kills (11). She has done so now in all seven matches this season.
- Morgan Elmore led the Bisons for the second time on Friday with 33 assists, while Ashley Maher did the same with 12 digs.
- Purdue outhit Lipscomb .329 to .208.
- The Bisons hit a season high 15 service errors.
Lipscomb will wrap play in the Stacey Clark Classic on Saturday at 4 p.m. against Xavier.