FLORENCE, Ala. (lipscombsports.com) – Lipscomb volleyball went on the road Tuesday night and put together one of its strongest outings of the season as the Bisons swept North Alabama in straight sets (25-20, 25-12, 25-15) in ASUN Conference action.
The Bisons (7-9, 3-2 ASUN) have now won six consecutive sets after posting their highest hitting percentage (.310) of the season. North Alabama falls to 3-15 overall and 1-4 in league play.
"Anytime we can win a conference match on the road it feels good, especially when we play our brand of volleyball," head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. "It was an ultimate team performance, not only on the court, but also our bench. I thought they were fantastic and really brought the energy.
"This was just an awesome win."
Lipscomb was led on offense by nine kills from Megan Kuper and Garrett Joiner, while Sami Rubal and Maddie Phillips each posted eight.
Rubal spearheaded a strong effort at the net with five blocks and a team-high .571 hitting percentage after 14 errorless swings.
Reigning ASUN Player of the Week Morgan Elmore posted another solid outing with 33 assists and seven digs from her setter position.
After a slow start at Flowers Hall, it took nearly half of the first set before Lipscomb settled in. Tied at 11, the Bisons used a 9-5 run behind kills from four different players to take a 20-16 lead. After a UNA timeout, Maddie Phillips and Morgan Elmore registered back-to-back kills to take the opening frame, 25-20.
"Midway through the first I told the team that if we could eliminate the errors that were letting them (UNA) hang around, I thought we could impose our will," Rosenthal said. "I stressed to them that we have to be able to work hard enough with our skillset that we take the luck aspect out of it. No doubt we can be scored on even when that happens, but we become infinitely better when we execute our skill set."
It was all Bisons the rest of the way.
The purple and gold raced out to a 19-7 advantage in the second stanza behind a big-time defensive effort from Rubal. The junior middle blocked five balls in the set and recorded a kill late in the frame that sparked a four-point run to give the Bisons a 2-0 lead at the intermission. The offense hit .409 with only two errors in the set.
The third and final set had Lipscomb jump out to another early lead at 10-5 to force the Lions to call a timeout. Phillips continued her strong night with three kills and an ace to get the Bisons a 20-10 advantage. Logan Gish contributed with a pair of kills down the stretch to seal the victory for Lipscomb, 25-15.
"When you have outsides, middles and right sides that can all score, at some point teams have to take chances defensively," Rosenthal said. "When they do that and we have a setter like Morgan who can feel that and go the opposite way, it just makes it tough for the teams we face."
- The Bisons committed a season-low 12 attack errors, leading to their season-high .310 hitting percentage.
- Four different players hit over .300 in the win (Kuper - .333; Joiner - .438; Rubal - .571; Phillips - .312).
- Ashley Maher led the team with 10 digs and recorded her second-consecutive outing with three aces off the service line. She's now up to 16 aces on the year – a team-high.
- Kuper now has 30 kills combined over her last three matches. Her three blocks were a season-high for the junior hitter.
- Lipscomb posted a 71.4 side-out percentage, compared to 45.2 for UNA.
- The Bisons out served the Lions 7-1 in aces. It marks their third-highest total this season and gives them 15 over the last two matches.
Lipscomb stays on the road for another single match this weekend when the Bisons travel to face NJIT at 2 p.m. (CT) on Sunday.
"I continue to tell people to not sleep on this team," Rosenthal said. "There is something special going on and I promise we are going to continue pushing forward."