|September 23, 2016||1st||2nd||3rd||4th||5th||Final|
CANNON - 1
RACICH - 1
NUSBAUM - 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The preconference schedule is designed to get a team prepared for conference play and Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal thinks his team is ready to begin the run for a third straight ASUN Conference regular season title.
“We are ready,” Rosenthal said. “We had a lot of great experiences early in the season. Top to bottom it has been a challenge.
“We didn’t get a break out of the gate. I don’t know if we wanted one. What we have done in preconference is more than enough to prepare us for the conference.”
The road to the championship is going to have a major bump at the start. Friday night at 6:30 the Lady Bisons, 7-4, will host Kennesaw State, 6-8, at Allen Arena.
The last time Kennesaw State visited was for the ASUN Tournament. The Owls lost 3-0 to host Lipscomb for the championship and the automatic NCAA berth. Earlier in the regular season Kennesaw State beat Lipscomb at Allen Arena 3-2.
“Everybody is going to be pumped up and geared up for this one,” Rosenthal said. “It is a premier match for the ASUN. It is going to be exciting.”
Lipscomb has lost its last two matches. Kennesaw State brings in a five-match winning streak.
“It is interesting the way Kennesaw State’s season has gone so far,” Rosenthal said. “They played pretty well in some big matches against Auburn, Georgia Tech and Missouri. They had a chance to win all three of them.
“They have a lot of great pieces. Essentially, they have the same team they had last season. It is about their mentality. They are going to play with a lot of confidence. Our job is to leave some doubt in their mind.”
Scouting Kennesaw State: Kennesaw State has lost only two sets in its last five matches.
Libero Katarina Morton's 5.53 digs per set leads the ASUN and ranks third in NCAA Division I.
Anaiah Boyer was named ASUN Defensive Player of the Week this week. She is strong offensively as well. She leads the Owls in kills with 156.
Kelly Marcinek has 996 kills heading into the Lipscomb match.
Lipscomb leads the series 18-1. The only loss by Lipscomb was in the regular season in 2015.
An Olympic atmosphere: There will be an “Olympic” feel to the evening.
Kevin Barnett, a TV analyst for the indoor volleyball matches at the Rio Olympics, will be part of the ESPN3 coverage team.
Keeping the evening moving will be DJ Roueche, who was the DJ for the Rio Olympics beach volleyball matches and who also serves as the official DJ of the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA and the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tournament.
“It is going to add to the atmosphere we already have,” Rosenthal said. “Roueche did a match here last year. You can tell the difference with somebody who does this for a living and knows volleyball.”
The polls, the polls: Lipscomb is ranked 15th in this week’s Mid-Major Poll from Volleyballmag.com. They have been in the top 20 four times this season.
A helping hand: Setters Kayla Ostrom and Morgan Elmore have each been in double figures in assists in all 11 matches this season.
Ostrom is the leading active assists leader in the conference with 2,830.
NCAA rankings: Lipscomb is sixth in kills per set (14.71), seventh in assists per set (13.71) and 18th in aces per set (1.78).
Taylor Racich is 10th in aces per set (.56) and 15th in service aces with 23.
Carlyle Nusbaum is 13th in kills per set with 4.61 and 19th in points per set with 4.95.
ASUN rankings: Lipscomb leads the conference in assists with 13.71 per set. The Lady Bisons also lead in kills with 14.71 kills per set and service aces with 1.78 per set.
Three Lipscomb players are in the top 10 in hitting percentage – Racich in sixth at 2.86, Maddie Phillips in seventh at 2.81 and Nusbaum in 10th at .262.
Nusbaum leads in kills per set. She is second in total kills.
Racich is 10th in kills per set with 2.83.
Racich is the leader in service aces per set and is second in total service aces.
Brittany Thomas is fifth with .34 per set. Phillips is sixth with .33 per set.
Ostrom is fifth in assists with 6.95 per set, 285 total.
Thomas is sixth in digs with 4.17 per set. She has made a total of 171.
Powering on: Seven of Lipscomb’s last eight matches have been played against “Power Five” conferences.
Lipscomb is 4-3 in those matchups. The Lady Bisons are 2-1 against the Atlantic Coast Conference, 1-0 against the Big 10, 1-1 in matches with Southeastern Conference teams and 0-1 against the Big 12.
Next up: The Lady Bisons head to Florida to face ASUN foes North Florida, Sept. 30, and Jacksonville, Oct. 1, in Jacksonville.