NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lipscomb advanced to its third-straight Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship Final with a 3-1 victory over No. 4 Jacksonville on Friday night. The Bisons await the winner of No. 2 FGCU and No. 3 Kennesaw State in Saturday's Final at 3 p.m. CT on ESPN3.
Brittnay Estes led three Lipscomb players in double-digit kills with 17 in tonight's victory. Jewell Dobson and Carlyle Nusbaum added 15 kills each. Defensively, Brittany Thomas had a team-high 20 digs as five Bisons' finished in double-digits. Emily Laskelle led Jacksonville's attack with 13 kills.
In a tightly contested opening set, Jacksonville came away with the 25-23 win to take a 1-0 lead in the match. Ana Nieto-Gomez led the Dolphins with five kills in the opening set as neither team could build a lead larger than four points. The Dolphins hit .394 as a team and got four digs in the set from Defensive Player of the Year Mayara Prestes. Brittnay Estes led the Bisons' attack with five kills and a .400 hitting percentage in the opening frame.
The Bisons equalized in the second set with a 25-22 win as Dobson and Estes took over the match. Estes finished the second frame with five kills, giving her 10 for the match to lead all players on the court. After both teams traded points early in the set, the Bisons went on a 6-1 scoring run to take control, going up 21-18. Dobson's ninth kill of the match tied the score 1-1 as both teams headed into intermission.
The third set belonged to All-Freshmen Team selections Carlyle Nusbaum and Lauren Anderson of Lipscomb. The two combined for 10 kills in the third frame, including Anderson getting the final two points to give the Bisons a 25-15 win in the set and a 2-1 lead in the match. With the set tight at 9-8, Nusbaum sparked a 6-1 run for the Bisons with three kills to give them a 15-9 lead. Lipscomb would not let Jacksonville get any closer than 18-14. Anderson then closed it out to shift momentum in favor of the home team.
Lipscomb carried that momentum into the fourth set and opened a 5-1 lead. They would never relinquish that lead despite the Dolphins fighting back and cutting the lead down to two later on. The Bisons' seniors then took over as Estes and Dobson carried Lipscomb home with a 25-21 victory in the fourth and final set.
Lipscomb will play in its third consecutive A-Sun Championship Final tomorrow, looking for its first victory since 2011 when the tournament was also played at Allen Arena. The Final will begin at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, Nov. 21st and can be seen live on ESPN3.
Lipscomb vs. Jacksonville Championship Notes:
- For the first time in the last three A-Sun Championships, the Bisons defeated the Dolphins. Lipscomb's last win over Jacksonville in the postseason came in the 2007 Championship Final.
- The Bisons finished the match with a .258 hitting percentage. The Bisons are 14-0 this season when hitting .250 or better in a match.
- Brittnay Estes reached 17 or more kills for the fifth time this season. She had a career-high 32 against Jacksonville during the regular season.
- Emily Laskelle had 13 kills to lead the Dolphins again on offense. She only failed to reach double-digit kills in two matches this season.