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September 14, 20181st2nd3rdFinal
Northern Iowa2525253
LIPTeam StatsUNI
.202Hitting Pct..385
104Total Attacks96
KillsTaylor - 14
Thomas - 14
AssistsKoop - 33
AcesBusswitz - 2
DigsSorge - 10
BlocksThomas - 5
Volleyball falls to Northern Iowa in Illini Classic
Friday, September 14, 2018
By Kirk Downs
Volleyball falls to Northern Iowa in Illini Classic

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Lipscomb volleyball opened up the Illini Classic Friday morning with a 3-0 loss to Northern Iowa at Illinois’ Huff Hall.

The Panthers (6-4) took the sets 25-17, 25-20 and 25-16. With the loss, Lipscomb falls to 5-5 on the year.

“I think the difference today was how we started sets one and two,” Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “It’s hard to work throughout the match the way we want to when we get down early like in those sets.

“Our focus has to change a little more as well on the first point as well. It’s a small adjustment, but an important one. Good teams like Northern Iowa will make you pay for it.”

UNI used a strong block game in the opening set, as Karli Taylor, Inga Rotto and Piper Thomas combined for three blocks during the frame. After the Bisons knotted things up at 2-2 in the set, UNF built an 11-4 lead and forced a Lipscomb timeout. 

The Bisons tried to chip away with a 6-1 run that included kills from Carlyle Nusbaum and Sami Rubal and an ace from Lauren Anderson to pull within three at 15-12. UNI stretched the lead back out on three consecutive kills from Thomas before getting the 25-17 win.

The momentum carried over into the next set for the Panthers as they scored the first six points of the frame. Down, but not out, Lipscomb continued to cut into the deficit and pulled itself to within two points on three separate occasions, including 21-19 after a kill from Rubal and a UNI attack error. In the end however, a .359 hitting percentage from Northern Iowa was too much to handle as the Bisons ultimately fell 25-20.

Nusbaum gave Lipscomb its only lead of the match with a kill on the first point of the final stanza. The teams traded points until a service error and a Ca’Layci Coffey kill trimmed the Bisons deficit to 13-11. From that point, UNI mounted a 7-0 run and hit .517 to record the set and match victory, 25-16.

“Individually it was a challenging one to judge, but I think we need to pass a little better.” Rosenthal said. “Passing leads to distribution and there were times I thought we put our attackers in tough spots.

“Because of that we were in spots where we had to take some risks that didn’t necessarily go our way. We have to be better at staying within our system and creating pressure on them.”



  • The Panthers outhit Lipscomb .385 to .202 and had more digs, 50-34.
  • Nusbaum led the Bisons with her fourth double-double of the season. She totaled 13 kills and 11 digs – both were team highs.
  • Megan Kuper added seven kills, while Anderson and Coffey each chipped in six.
  • Coffey led the team with a .462 hitting clip after committing just one error on 13 swings.
  • Rubal made her season debut for the Purple and Gold. She played all three sets and notched three kills and one block.



Lipscomb is back in action later Friday at 7 p.m. when it battles No. 10 Creighton. They will then take on host, No. 8 Illinois at noon on Saturday.  

“It’s a quick turnaround as we get ready for Creighton,” Rosenthal said. “They are really impressive and dynamic and it is an opportunity for us to learn from the early match.

“As we talk about our mindset, focusing on what we did wrong is not as important as finding a way to do it better. We will get rested up and be ready to go at it again.”