|September 29, 2019||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
PHILLIPS - 8
MAHER - 1
VANLIEW - 1
CARROLL - 1
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Things did not go as planned for the Lipscomb volleyball team on the road Sunday afternoon as host Florida Gulf Coast won in straight sets (25-19, 25-21, 25-19), to earn its third consecutive sweep over the Bisons at Alico Arena.
The Eagles improved to 12-3 overall and 2-1 in ASUN Conference play, while the loss dropped Lipscomb to 5-8, 1-1.
“I was excited for today, I thought it was a good trip in the sense that we battled for a good victory on Friday,” head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “In the first set our lack of aggression probably did us in. I was hoping to see a little more in the way we were attacking balls.
“We had a good response in the second, but we ultimately made a couple mental errors there at the end.”
Senior Maddie Phillips and freshman Lauren Myrick led all Bisons with eight kills each, while senior setter Morgan Elmore paced the offense with 32 assists.
The teams traded points throughout the first half of the opening set before the Eagles built a four-point lead to force a Lipscomb timeout. FGCU took advantage of an .069 hitting clip by the Bisons and got eight kills from reigning ASUN Player of the Year Cortney VanLiew en route to a 25-15 win in set one.
After going down two midway through the second set, it was the Bisons tie to make a run as the purple and gold strung together a 5-1 behind kills from Sami Rubal and Garrett Joiner to grab an 11-9 advantage. FGCU got a pair of blocks out of a timeout to regain the lead, but the Bisons continued their charge as Myrick and Bree Thompson got Lipscomb back to within a point, 17-16, before the Eagles called their second timeout. That would be as close as the Bisons would get, however, as VanLiew put down the winning kill again, 25-21.
“The game plan going into the third was to really try and add pressure to them,” Rosenthal said. “Unfortunately it was one of those matches where we just didn’t see the typical fight out of this group.
“The good thing about it, however, is that we haven’t seen from this group before and I expect them to bounce back the next time we go out there.”
Just like in the previous sets, the two teams were separated by just a single tally midway through the frame. Lipscomb sandwiched kills from Thompson and Myrick around an ace from Ashley Maher to grab an 11-10 lead. Trailing by one, the Eagles mounted an 8-1 run and never looked back as they went on to win the set, 25-19.
- Lipscomb swung .154 in the loss, its ninth time hitting below .200 this season.
- Alyssa Zwolensky led the team with 10 digs, followed by seven from Maher and Elmore.
- Phillips recorded a team-high two blocks, while Thompson and Elmore each added one.
- Megan Kuper totaled one kill and four digs in her second outing of the year.
- VanLiew finished with a match-high 22 kills on a .500 hitting percentage.
- The Eagles hit .366 in the match and recorded 10 blocks.
The Bisons return to Nashville for their ASUN home opener next weekend. Lipscomb will host Kennesaw State at 6:30 p.m. Friday, before welcoming Liberty at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s a long trip home, but we were able to get a split on the road,” Rosenthal said. “We have to take that and figure out how to get better with Kennesaw State and Liberty coming to town next weekend.
“In some sense, we have to do things a little bit different if we are expecting the outcomes to be different. This wasn’t what I was looking for today, but it’s a learning lesson. This group has been good all year taking and processing the information.”