VOLLEYBALL: Lady Tops warm up with lowly Lipscomb

Michael Casagrande

The performance of the Lipscomb volleyball team Tuesday night was almost as frightening as Lady Bisons coach Kim Barham’s Halloween-themed sweater.

Lipscomb became the Lady Toppers’ 20th straight victim at home by floundering its way to a consecutive-game loss at the Preston Health and Activities Center.

Western (20-4) made quick work of the outmatched Lady Bisons (3-15), sending the visitors back to Nashville in an hour and seven minutes.

Coach Travis Hudson looked to the Lipscomb match-up as a tune-up for tomorrow’s showdown at Sun Belt West-leading New Mexico State.

“We came into this match wanting to work on some things that we haven’t been doing well,” Hudson said. “I think it was a very mature effort from our team.”

Freshman outside hitter Crystal Towler led the team with 16 kills and a .619 hitting percentage.

But the story of the match was Bison blunders. A snicker or two could be heard in the sedate crowd of Western supporters as Lipscomb players made a few comical errors.

Lipscomb limped out of the Preston Center with a depressing .082 hitting percentage and only 26 team kills, compared to the Lady Toppers’ season high .434 attack percentage.

The victory came without All-Sun Belt performer Sara Noe for most of the match. The senior setter sat out the second and third games to try some new offensive sets.

The beginning of Game One was the only time Lipscomb showed any semblance of life. That was before Western used an 8-0 spurt, capped by an Amanda Schiff kill, to run away with a 30-16 win.

The second game started much like the first ended, with a Lady Topper run. This time Western exploded out of the gate with a 6-0 spurt that prompted a timeout from Braham.

No speech could overshadow the gross disparity in talent, and the Lady Bisons staggered to a lopsided 30-12 loss.

Lipscomb emerged from the locker room with a new intensity in Game Three, staking a 5-4 lead before the Lady Toppers took over. Then the playful Western crew put the victory on ice with a 30-20 victory in the final game.

Junior defensive specialist Tracy May said Tuesday’s match was a good chance to tweak and try new things.

“We wanted to come out here and work on things we need to work on for New Mexico State. So we were trying things we wouldn’t normally do in a tight match,” May said.?

Now the focus is on New Mexico State.

“It’s big in the sense that it’s the best versus the best. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t really gonna matter that much because we are in different divisions,” Hudson said.

After Friday’s showdown at New Mexico State, the Lady Toppers will travel north to take on Denver Sunday afternoon for another key Sun Belt match.

Reach Michael Casagrande at [email protected]