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September 27, 20191st2nd3rd4th5thFinal
LIPTeam StatsStet
.202Hitting Pct..225
213Total Attacks178
KillsDjokovic - 17
AssistsDeStaffino - 46
AcesDeStaffino - 3
Deisa - 3
DigsSpence - 36
BlocksOscarson - 6
Volleyball wins five-set thriller to open ASUN play
Friday, September 27, 2019
By Kirk Downs
Volleyball wins five-set thriller to open ASUN play

DELAND, Fla. – Lipscomb volleyball earned a win in its first ASUN Conference match of the season with a hard-fought, back-and-forth match over Stetson, topping them in five sets (18-25, 25-23, 19-25, 25-22, 15-11) Friday night in DeLand, Florida.

“This was definitely one of the gutsiest performances I’ve ever seen a Lipscomb volleyball team have,” said coach Brandon Rosenthal. “It was fun to watch the girls battle.

“On the other side, Stetson was really good tonight and didn’t make a lot of errors. To have only 15 hitting errors in five sets really put pressure on us. That was well done on their part.”

Lipscomb improves to 5-7 overall and 1-0 in the ASUN, while Stetson falls to 2-9, 0-2.

A trio of Bisons led the way offensively for the purple and gold. Freshman Bree Thompson, seeing her first real action of the season, and sophomore Garrett Joiner finished with 18 kills apiece, while senior Maddie Phillips added 17. Senior setter Morgan Elmore dished out a career-high 60 assists, while adding 14 digs and four blocks.  

The Bisons played stellar defense, finishing the match with 96 total digs. Four different players recorded 14 or more digs, with Alyssa Zwolensky producing a career high 29.

“I thought the defense tonight was fantastic, and it wasn’t just on our side,” Rosenthal said. “There were multiple times tonight I thought we had won a point, but Stetson somehow found a way to keep it going. That was just two teams going at it.”

In the first set the Bisons were able to gain an early 4-3 lead after an ace from Zwolensky and a Lanie Wagner kill. The Hatters, however, would win the next three points to take back the lead and maintain the advantage to a 25-18 set victory.

In the second frame Lipscomb dominated from the opening point. Phillips, Joiner and Thompson came out swinging and helped the Bisons run out to a 15-9 lead midway through the set. After the Hatters battled to get back within a single point, a Stetson serving error and a kill from Joiner sealed the 25-23 win in set two for Lipscomb.

Set three had its ups and downs. The aforementioned trio once again went to work early, combining for four consecutive kills to give the Bisons a 5-2 lead. The Hatters eventually got things rolling with an 18-8 run to regain the advantage and get to 20 points. Back-to-back errors from Lipscomb helped pave the way for a 25-19 win in the set for the home team.

Needing a win in set four to keep the match alive, the purple and gold didn’t seem to have much life early, as Stetson raced out to a 12-5 lead and forced Rosenthal to quickly call both timeouts. That is when the match turned in favor of the Bisons.

“We had to burn both timeouts early after they went up 12-5,” Rosenthal said. “We focused on the idea that we didn’t need to play towards the scoreboard, but just play our brand of volleyball.”

Within minutes, the deficit was completely erased when Megan Kuper served up three-straight aces in her season debut to spark an 8-1 run. Later in the set after Stetson retook a three-point lead, Thompson caught fire. The freshman torched the Hatters with five kills in a row before a block from Phillips and Elmore gave Lipscomb the 25-22 set victory.

“Megan played fantastic tonight, especially down the stretch,” Rosenthal said. “She was a little rusty on the front part of it after not playing all season, but she showed why she’s the player that she it.

“She really came in and offered us a spark with timely serving.”

The fifth set saw the visiting Bisons continue their torrid pace. With the Bisons leading 4-1, Stetson would make its final run to retake the lead at 8-7. That would be the last time Lipscomb would trail.

Thompson’s strike evened the score, before Phillips took over. The middle blocker recorded five of her 17 kills in the set, including the final swing that sent the ball off the head of a Hatter for the winning point. 

 “I told Maddie in front of the whole team in the fifth set that we were going to her,” Rosenthal said. “She’s been doing it all year for us and I had no doubt she would come through, and she did.

“She’s been nothing short of spectacular all season.” 



  • The Bisons improved to 24-1 all-time against the Hatters.
  • Elmore’s 60 assists were the most by a Bison since Kayla Ostrom in 2015. She upped her career assists total to 2,914 – which is third most all-time.
  • The 96 total digs are the most by a Lipscomb team since 2007. It marks the 11th-highest single-game dig total in the program’s NCAA era.
  • Zwolensky’s 29 digs are the most by a Bison in a 5-set match since Brittany Thomas also recorded 29 in 2015.
  • The 13 team blocks match a season high for the purple and gold.
  • Freshman Lauren Myrick was the fourth Bison in double figures with 10 kills.
  • Elmore picked up her second double-double of the season.
  • In her first match of the season, Kuper registered 14 digs and a team-high three aces.
  • Phillips and Elmore each had four blocks.


Lipscomb closes out the weekend at 1 p.m. Sunday with a match against the reigning ASUN champion Florida Gulf Coast.