Lipscomb Women’s Volleyball (2-1) got off to a good start this past weekend as the team opened its season in Allen Area with a 3-0 win against ETSU (0-1).
While ETSU was a strong opponent, the Bisons held their own throughout the match, never getting further than three points behind.
Junior Carlyle Nusbaum, the reigning ASUN Player of the Year, led the team with fifteen out of the fifty-five kills during the three sets. Nusbaum also collected her first double-double of the season with ten digs in addition to her fifteen kills.
Freshman Alyssa Zwolensky, Ashley Maher and Megan Kuper had the opportunity to join the team on the floor during the third set of the ETSU match. Out of the three freshman, Kuper made her first career kill.
“I was definitely nervous because it was my first collegiate game, but I was smiling the whole time because I was so happy that I was in that situation,” Kuper said. “I just kept telling myself ‘Don’t let the nerves get to you and play your game’.”
Head coach Brandon Rosenthal was pleased with his team’s performance, noting that the freshman especially put forth a strong first outing.
“I am really impressed with how all three of [the freshman] handled that opportunity,” Rosenthal said. “I think what I was impressed about the most with our freshman play was their ability to get into the game and perform at a level that is expectant of them.”
On Saturday, the Bisons took on Wichita State (1-0) where they were overcome 3-0. The first set remained close between the Bisons and Shockers as there were sixteen ties and ten different lead changes. However, the Shockers defeated the Bisons early on in the second set and went on to claim the match during set three.
The biggest differences between the Bisons and Shockers during the three sets were the hitting percentage (.135-.337), amount of errors (31-9), and blocks made (5-15).
“We didn’t have a problem scoring, and I think when you boil it all down we made too many hitting errors,” Rosenthal stated. “In sets one and three we had chances to win, but we didn’t make the plays when we needed them the most. In the end, they made more plays than we did.”
Later that evening, the Lady Bisons defeated number twenty-four in the nation Arizona (1-1) in a 3-1 victory during the finale of the LUV invite.
Hundreds of Lipscomb students packed into Allen Area Saturday night in order to support the Bisons as they took on one of the top programs in the nation.
“The fans were crazy — in a good way,” Kuper said. “It definitely helped keep our energy up. I hope that this is how it is like for all of our games. We use their energy and put it on the court.”
Lipscomb came out onto the court strong with twelve kills and four blocks, taking down Arizona 25-13 during the first set.
During the second set, the Wildcats refused to go down without a fight and the Bisons were forced to repel four consecutive set points. Eventually the Bisons clenched the win 31-29.
Arizona won the third set 25-20 with a .351 hitting percentage. However, Lipscomb did not let that phase them in the fourth and final set as Nusbaum seized the match with a kill to win in a 25-22 victory. This kill was one of Nusbaum’s twenty-five from the entire match, making her Lipscomb’s lead killer.
“It is kind of humbling [being the team’s lead scorer] because I know that setters have to trust me enough to set me that many times and to trust that I will put the ball away,” Nusbaum said.
Nusbaum added that it was “pretty neat” beating Arizona which is a power 5 conference team, and that this was the first time Lipscomb Volleyball has beaten a top twenty-five team at home.
With three games in a forty-eight hour time-frame, physical and emotional exhaustion is to be expected from the team. Nusbaum added that the women also have to find time to balance not only their workouts, practices, and games, but also their schoolwork.
“It’s not just three games and then doing your homework; you have to be in the training room getting treatment and recovering,” Nusbaum said. “It’s definitely a lot more time spent in the arena and managing your time, especially with homework.”
The Lady Bisons will travel to Columbus, Ohio this weekend as they take on Oakland, Missouri State, and Ohio State in the Sports Imports D.C. Koehl Classic.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics