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Kennesaw State (13-16)
11/21/2013 | Kennesaw, Ga. | Attendance: 607
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Nothing more needs to be said.
"ETSU is a great team," LIpscomb volleyball head coach Brandon Rosenthal said. "They are hungry to leave this conference on a high note. They are hungry to leave against us on a high note.
"There is a lot of fire power between the two teams. You have six of the seven All-Conference first teamers. You could probably put a couple of more people on there from both squads."
The No.3-seeded Lady Bisons beat No. 6-seed Kennesaw State 3-1 in front of a loud home crowd at the KSU Convocation Center Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament.
The Lady Bisons won set one 25-23 and set two 25-20. In set three Kennesaw State fought back for a 25-18 win. The Purple and Gold closed out the match with a 25-21 win in set four.
"It's tournament time," Rosenthal said. "It's survive and advance. It's fun."
The Lady Bisons, 22-7, have made nine consecutive trips to the A-Sun Tournament and have played in the semifinals all nine times.
ETSU, 22-8, is the No. 2 seed and earned a bye into the semifinals. The victor will play the winner of the other semifinal match between Jacksonville and Florida Gulf Coast.
The Lady Bisons have lost twice to ETSU this season, both by scores of 3-2. In the semifinal round of the 2012 A-Sun Tournament ETSU eliminated the Lady Bisons 3-1.
"We know we are going to get a fight," Rosenthal said. "We have had a fight with them every time we have played them.
"This is not the time for a rah, rah speech. I think we have to let it play out right now. It is what it is."
Both teams are extremely familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of all the players. There are videos to watch and scouting reports to work on, but the winner is going to be determined by who wants it the most on the court.
"It comes down to execution," Rosenthal said. "It comes down to who is going to be the more aggressive team and who is going to be able to score points in crunch time.
"I know execution is a general term. But there were key points in both of our matches with them this season where we didn't execute. It is a tough pill to swallow but you realize that these little plays add up, especially in five setters where you are winning or losing by two points."
In the Kennesaw State match middle blocker Jewell Dobson, the A-Sun Player of the Year, made a match-high 15 kills.
Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle added 12 kills to go with a .421 hitting percentage. Outside hitter Lauren Ford just missed a double-figure performance with nine kills.
"We knew our middles were going to be big for us," Rosenthal said. "You look down the stat sheet and you almost have four people in double figures in kills. You can't go wrong with that."
Right side Brittnay Estes chipped in 11 kills, a career-high, and a team-high .471 hitting percentage. She also had one solo block.
"Brittnay was frustrated," Rosenthal said. "She has turned blocking into one of her main things. She really couldn't get into a rhythm with it. We were just barely missing balls.
"What I loved was Brittnay's offensive game. Dot did a nice job of really finding the right time to go to her. She did a fantastic job of putting balls away when she was supposed to do it."
Defensively, Bri McCombs, the A-Sun Libero of the Year, was credited with a team-high 13 digs. Setter Caitlin "Dot" Dotson made 10 kills and defensive specialist Stephanie Rex had eight.
"I thought our back row, with the combination of Rex and McCombs, was fantastic," Rosenthal said. "It wasn't necessarily the sheer number of digs. It was the digs we needed to have at crucial times."
A-Sun Freshman of the Year Kelly Marcinek posted a double-double for Kennesaw State with a team-high 14 kills and a match-high 14 digs. Camille Pedraza made 12 digs and Toure Hopkins added 10.
Kennesaw State ends the season with a 13-16 record.
"Kennesaw really played exceptionally well in the first set," Rosenthal said. "I thought it was one of those things where we weren't aggressive enough. They were the aggressor from the start until about mid-way. We did a great job of finishing it with Jewell doing what she was supposed to do."
Rosenthal was not surprised with the tenacity of Kennesaw State.
"This was exactly what I expected," Rosenthal said. "We knew it was going to be a battle. Keith Schunzel does a fantastic job with them.
"They had four seniors who wanted to leave on a high note. At this point of time in the season you have to expect that."
Friday night’s match is set for a 6:30 p.m. first serve can be seen on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app.