NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Beware of the women in the middle.
Lipscomb prevailed 3-1 Tuesday night at Allen Arena over Belmont in the volleyball version of the “Battle of the Boulevard”.
The Bisons won set one 25-21 and lost set two 25-23. After the break they easily took set three 25-14 and then closed out set four 25-17.
“In matches like this you have to create some challenges for the other team,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “I am proud of our girls. I thought they did a great job of that. I was really pleased with what we did.
“I thought we were pretty dominant in sets three and four. In set one I thought we did a great job. We were never really in jeopardy. The score was closer than the set actually was. We were in control of the match.”
One of the keys to victory was the play of middle blockers Katie Bradley and Maddie Phillips.
The middle blockers were formidable with Bradley finishing with 10 kills, a .400 hitting percentage and six blocks.
“I thought our middles did a great job, especially towards the end, of really establishing the block,” Rosenthal said. “I thought Brad did a fantastic job of attacking and coming up with huge points in key situations. She really set the tone offensively.
“I thought offensively she was good throughout, but defensively she really picked it up in sets three and four.”
Phillips just missed double figures with nine kills and two blocks. She led the Bisons with two service aces.
“I thought offensively Maddie was pretty steady,” Rosenthal said. “It is really about executing the game plan and the more experience she gets she is going to be more disciplined on the block and in playing defense.
“She has really been working at it. Moving forward she is going to be a tremendous player for us.”
Outside hitter Carlyle Nusbaum led the way with a double-double with 14 kills and 11 digs. She also made two blocks.
“It was not just Nusbaum’s digs, but her blocking as well,” Rosenthal said. “That helps out a ton and I think it helps her game. It helps her get into the flow.
“There are times when she was absolutely dominant. And there are times when she doesn’t challenge enough. We are getting her to the point where she challenges on every ball. It takes a little bit of time and trust. She is growing as a player. It is fun to see what she is doing.”
Outside hitter Lauren Anderson also made nine kills and finished tied with Nusbaum with 11 digs. Libero Brittany Thomas added 10 digs.
“Defensively, we did a good job,” Rosenthal said. ‘I thought Lauren Anderson was spectacular. She really passed well. This was a great indication of what she is capable of all of the time.
“She also did a great job as a teammate talking through some of the defensive breakdowns. She is working on things like how she carries herself on the court. Early on she got a little rattled with her serve and we talked about that. I thought she served really well down the stretch.”
Setters Kayla Ostrom and Morgan Elmore were credited with 28 assists and 20 assists respectively. Ostrom’s total was the match high.
Lipscomb has won three straight matches and this was the third time in a row they have beaten Belmont.
The Bisons are 13-7. Belmont falls to 11-8.
- This is the second match in a row and the third time this season Nusbaum has recorded a double-double in kills and digs.
- This was the first time this season Bradley has finished in double figures in kills.
- Bradley posted a match-high .400 hitting percentage.
- Nusbaum has double figures in kills in 19 of 20 matches.
- Thomas has double figures in digs in 18 of 20 matches.
- This week’s com Mid-Major Poll has the Bisons ranked No. 22.
- Belmont only finished in double figures in kills in one set. Lipscomb had 55 kills to 35 by Belmont.
- Eight of nine Lipscomb players had at least one dig.
Next up: The Bisons have only match left this week. They head south to face Kennesaw State which finished the first half of the ASUN season 7-0. The match begins at 6 p.m.