|October 05, 2018||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||Final|
MORRIS - 1
LYNCHBURG, Va. – In its grittiest win of the season, the Lipscomb volleyball team came from behind in five sets to knock off the Liberty Flames, 3-2, Friday night inside the Vines Center.
The win kept the Purple and Gold at the top of the ASUN standings (10-7, 5-0), while the Flames (7-11, 4-1) dropped their first conference match of the season.
“Any time you go on the road in the conference the games get tougher and tougher,” Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “Tonight we just found a way to win the match. It was one that you will look at the stat sheet and grit your teeth, but in the end the most important thing was to get the W and that’s what we did.”
Things looked good for the Bisons against the league’s newest member after battling their way to a 25-23 win in set one. From there, the Flames bounced back with victories in the next two frames, 25-21 and 25-20.
Thankfully for Lipscomb, its roster is full of experienced players who had been there before. The Bisons outhit Liberty in each of the final two sets to finish off the match, 25-21 and 15-13.
Sophomore Megan Kuper continued her dominant play with a career high 21 kills to go along with 12 digs, giving her a third double-double of the season. The Olathe, Kansas native also added three blocks.
“Kuper was tremendous tonight,” Rosenthal said. “One thing that won’t show up in the stats is her passing, which was fantastic. To be able to move from the outside to the right side mid-match is tough and she didn’t miss a beat.
“All the way through, Kuper is a grinder. I am just continually proud of her.”
Senior Carlyle Nusbaum, fresh off her 11th career ASUN Player of the Week honor, picked up her ninth double-double of the year with 18 kills and 16 digs.
Lauren Anderson made the start and played three sets at libero before Rosenthal pulled her silver jersey and moved the senior to the outside. Anderson responded with a number of big plays to give her five kills and a season-high 19 digs.
“When we made the move to put LA on the outside, I thought we could stretch their defense a little more as they were camping out on the right side,” Rosenthal said. “She came up with some huge kills. The variety of shots she is able to hit really puts the defense in a tough spot.
“It’s hard to do what she does, playing two different positions in the same match, but it’s something we’ve talked about all year. She is able to help our team in a number of ways and that’s what makes her so special.”
If there were an area where the Bisons struggled the most, it was at the net. Liberty threw a block party and nearly came up with a program record, falling just shy at 19.0. The Flames stuffed five in the opening set and seven in the fourth.
“The blocks are concerning,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t want to discount it, but I think it was a match with a lot unconventional plays and some luck. I can think of six or seven times where I thought we earned the point and somehow the ball would find a way to come back over.
“The great Casey Alexander once said to his team, ‘there is no script for this’. Once the whistle blows on the first point, there are any number of things that can happen, no matter how much scouting and preparation you do going in. You still have to play and tonight that’s exactly what we did.”
The Bisons held the Flames to a .157 hitting percentage and registered a season high 63 assists, led by Morgan Elmore’s 52. Sophomore Ashley Maher helped anchor the back row with 15 digs.
Liberty was led by Anna Gragg’s season-high 13 kills and six blocks, while Kailey Macy registered eight kills and a career-high 10 blocks. Hannah Morris contributed 37 assists, eight digs and a career-high nine blocks.
- Lipscomb is off to its best start in ASUN play since opening 6-0 in 2015.
- Elmore matched her season high with 52 assists, the third time she’s achieved that number this season. She also set a career high with four kills.
- Nusbaum now has a double-double in five consecutive matches. She has also recorded 10 or more kills in 16-of-17 outings this season. Her 16 digs were just one off her season high set versus North Florida last weekend.
- Lauren Anderson has notched five or more kills 11 times on the year.
- The 65 total kills and 62 total assists are the most in a match this season for Lipscomb.
- Middle Samantha Rubal added seven kills and three blocks, while Ca’Layci Coffey chipped in five kills and a team-high four blocks.
- Four players finished with double figures in digs for Lipscomb. The 70 total scoops matched the most of the year for the Bisons (vs. Louisville on Sept. 7).
- The 19.0 blocks are the most by a Lipscomb opponent this season.
The Bisons now must make a quick trip down to the Sunshine State where they will take on FGCU in another battle of the ASUN’s top squads. First serve with the Eagles in Fort Myers is set for 1 p.m.
“This will be a fun bus ride as we head to Raleigh where we will then take a flight down to Fort Myers and get ready for FGCU on Sunday,” Rosenthal said.