|October 05, 2019||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
Fitzmaurice - 1
NASHVILLE – Outside hitters Logan Gish, Megan Kuper and Garrett Joiner combined for 31 kills as Lipscomb topped Liberty, 25-22, 25-23, 25-17, Saturday night in Allen Arena.
“I love our team’s effort,” head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “When we were down in that second set, we just kept thinking if we can get to within five or four we would be in business.
“Volleyball can be a funky game if you just look at the stats, because that effort on that comeback doesn’t get seen. Our girls should get all the credit in the world for that.”
The Bisons (6-9, 2-2 ASUN) used a key rally and good defense to knock off the previously unbeaten Flames (11-6, 4-1) in league play.
“We are a team that will never give up,” Kuper said. “Everyone comes to practice each and every day ready to go, and it’s fun because we are so close as a group.”
Gish led the team with 11 kills on .304 hitting to go with a dig and a block. Kuper recorded 10 kills on 24 swings to hit .292 and finish with seven digs. Joiner added 10 kills as well.
Senior setter Morgan Elmore turned in a match-high 39 assists and five digs, while Alyssa Zwolensky anchored the back row with another 20-dig performance.
The Bisons and Flames each made a pair of early runs in the first set, but it was Liberty who held an 11-7 lead after six-straight points. Out of a timeout, the Bisons got rolling with an 8-2 run highlighted by a pair of aces from Ashley Maher to pull in front 15-13. Gish powered the purple and gold’s attack with seven kills in the frame, before Joiner sealed the set with her fourth, 25-22.
Liberty sprinted out of the gate in the second stanza and eventually built a 19-11 lead, leaving the Bisons to try and play catch up. The defense tightened up with back-to-back blocks before Kuper’s ace cut the deficit to 19-15. Joiner got rolling again with three consecutive kills and the Bisons took their first lead (23-22) of the set on a Flames service error. Another ace from Maher and an error from Liberty closed out a 14-4 run for the Herd and put them ahead 2-0 going into intermission.
“At that point you can go one of two ways, either play scared and timid or do everything in your power to get control back,” Kuper said. “We did a really nice job of fighting and coming back in that set.”
That momentum carried over for the Bisons as this time it was the home team that raced out to a 19-11 lead after three straight kills from Maddie Phillips. The Flames tried to get back into things with a 5-0 run, but the Bisons wrapped things up with two aces from Phillips and a pair of kills by Elmore and Kuper.
Kuper made her second consecutive start and played in her fourth match of the season after missing the previous 11 with injury. Her 10 kills were a season high.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be back out on the court and fight with this team,” Kuper said. “It’s unbelievable to be out there and feel the passion from everyone.”
- The Bisons totaled 44 kills and 49 digs, while the Flames accounted for just 35 and 39, respectively.
- Elmore became the fourth Bison in the NCAA era to crack 3,000 career assists as she pushed her total to 3,025. Only Jake Pease (5,159), Kayla Ostrom (3,295) and Caitlin Dotson (3,176) have more.
- Maher recorded a season-high three service aces in the win, matching her career high total that was set against Kennesaw State in 2017. She brings her team-leading total to 15 on the season.
- Zwolensky picked up her fifth 20-dig outing of the season. Her 20 are the most any Bison has had this season in a three-set match.
- Phillips finished with eight kills, two aces and a team high three blocks.
- Sami Rubal recorded four kills on nine errorless swings (.444) from her middle position.
Lipscomb goes back on the road for a midweek matchup with North Alabama in Florence. The Bisons and Lions square off at 7 p.m.
“This team is really starting to come together as we begin to get healthy,” Rosenthal said. “I keep telling people do not sleep on us. Some great things are ahead for this team and tonight was just one example.
“It’s how we are able to execute that will determine how these next couple of weeks will go.”