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Lady Bisons headed to Dayton for NCAA First and Second Rounds

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Nov. 25, 2007

The NCAA Volleyball Tournament Selection Show lasted one hour, but it seemed more like an eternity for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.

In one of the final brackets announced during the show on ESPNU the Lady Bisons, making their first ever appearance in the tournament, found out they were going to Dayton, Ohio to play Dayton, a first and second round host school.

"Apparently someone paid ESPN to drag it out," said Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal. "My heart was beating harder and harder as the show went on."

The Lady Bisons, 20-11, will play Dayton, 32-1, Friday night. Also playing in Dayton are Kentucky (22-9) and Michigan State (19-13). Second round matches are Saturday.

"It is great to be going to the NCAA Tournament, but our players aren't content with that," said Rosenthal. "We are ready to go and ready to play.

"It is only a five-hour drive from Nashville. Two words come to my mind...road trip. Hopefully, a lot of you guys can come and cheer us on."

Approximately 100 fans, family members and students munched on pizza and other snacks in Shamblin Theater Sunday night as they watched the show on the big screen. Included in the crowd was Lipscomb President Randolph Lowry III and athletics director Steve Potts.

"I want to thank the Lipscomb administration for making all of this possible,' Rosenthal said. "I want to thank the families, friends and fans for everything they have done."

Rosenthal thought the Lady Bisons were given some respect by the selection committee as the Atlantic Sun Conference Champion. This season the Lady Bisons played teams Pepperdine and Tennessee State, two teams that earned NCAA berths.

"Some of it has to do with the way we scheduled, who we played all year long and the teams we beat," Rosenthal said. "Beating Belmont and Florida Gulf Coast really set the tone for us. We had a win over TSU. And we played teams like Pepperdine and Arizona pretty tough.

"We have always felt like playing a tough schedule is what we needed to do so when we got to this point we would be ready to go. This is a good step for us."

The Lady Bisons have never faced Dayton in a volleyball match. Rosenthal is familiar with the Dayton program. He planned to spend most of Sunday night on the telephone with various coaches that have faced the Flyers.

"I like the draw," Rosenthal said. "Dayton is a great team that has played really well. They are ranked 15th in the tournament. It is going to be a really tough match."

Rosenthal has never been to the NCAA Tournament, but two of his players have been a part of it. Senior libero Ann Mullins made one trip with the University of Tennessee and junior outside hitter Sarah Snider played in two first round matches with the University of Alabama.

"It is a big deal, but we have to go into it and play it like any other match," Mullins said.

Snider has a friend who plays for Dayton so she is looking forward to the match.

"We have to make sure we are competitive in practice this week," Snider said. "We have to talk to each other across the net. We have to make sure that everyone is motivated to have a positive attitude. We have to build confidence that we can do this."

There were 324 schools playing Division I volleyball at the start of the season. There are 64 still playing.

"I want to thank our players for giving me one amazing season," Rosenthal said. "This is a real tight-knit team. They are proud to wear Lipscomb on their jerseys. We are going to go and give it everything we have."

The Lady Bisons are one of six teams making a first trip to the NCAA Tournament. The others are Cleveland State, Delaware, South Dakota State, Tennessee State and Nevada-Las Vegas.