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Lipscomb (19-7, 13-3 A-Sun)
USC Upstate (4-22, 3-13, A-Sun)
11/9/2013 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 135
Saturday, November 09, 2013
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Before heading for their hotel rooms somewhere around the midnight hour Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal let his Lady Bisons volleyball team know that the season is far from over.
Friday night the Lady Bisons fell 3-2 in a heartbreaking match with ETSU at Brooks Gym in Johnson City. But it is Saturday and the Lady Bisons have another match to play on this road trip at 2 p.m. against USC Upstate.
Three of the five sets were decided by two points.
“They have to realize that the margin is so small between winning and losing,” Rosenthal said. “This has to be a reminder of what we have to do.
“It was the small plays, whether serving or passing at times. We had a couple of mental errors in the fifth set.”
The main theme of his talks in the dressing room and in the hotel lobby in the wake of the defeat is that they win and lose together.
“Whether it is players or coaches, this is about all of us,” Rosenthal said. “It is a harsh reality of Division I athletics. We didn’t execute as well as we could have against ETSU.
“We have to let this push us a little bit further. They are working hard. I didn’t have any problems with their effort. It was execution.”
The Spartans dropped a 3-1 decision to Northern Kentucky Friday night. Upstate is 2-12 in the Atlantic Sun, 4-21 overall.
The Purple and Gold enter the match 12-3 in the A-Sun, 18-7 overall.
Serving was a problem for both teams. The Lady Bisons made 20 service errors and ETSU made 18.
“ETSU’s errors came early and then they had one or two late,” Rosenthal said. “Ours came late. We couldn’t get out of our own way.
“I liked what we did serving early on. We didn’t have a lot of aces, but did a nice job of getting them out of their system. Late in the match we got tight. Obviously, the service errors didn’t help us.”
The Lady Bisons were without the services of defensive specialist Stephanie Rex who is sidelined with an injury. Megan Stout was given increased playing time and made 13 digs, a season high.
“I thought Meg did a great job coming in,” Rosenthal said. “She came up with a couple of plays that were huge.”
It was the second time this season that the Lady Bisons had faced ETSU without a starter. In the first match on Oct. 5 the Lady Bisons did not have middle blocker Molly Spitznagle.
You hate to lose a starter with Stephanie,” Rosenthal said. “She is a warrior. There is no doubt in my mind that if she could have gone she would have.
“I like what Stephanie did on the bench. She took on a leadership role there. That is good to see especially from a senior.”
Outside hitter Lauren Ford also put together a strong performance leading the Lady Bisons with 25 kills and a .444 hitting percentage. She also added two service aces and eight digs.
“Lauren had a tremendous match,” Rosenthal said. “She came up with some huge plays offensively.”
The Lady Bisons won set one 27-25 and set two 25-22. They appeared to be on their way to a 10th straight win, but they lost set three 25-21, set four 35-33 and set five 15-13.
There were 16 ties in set four.
“At any one time we had a bunch of individuals doing nice jobs,” Rosenthal said. “In the end what happened, especially in set three, we got a little bit complacent.
“It is a grind. We were separated by two points almost everywhere you look. Mentally, we have to a little bit better job late in sets.
“Between sets two and three we knew ETSU was going to make a push. I have no doubt our girls are going to take this and do something with it. That is the important thing. This has to drive us and make us better.”
The Lady Bisons beat Upstate 3-0 earlier this season. They have not lost to Upstate in 10 meetings.
“By no means is this the end,” Rosenthal said. “We have to finish the next three matches starting with Upstate.
“We have to control what we can control and execute down the stretch. That is what makes champions.”