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#19 Kentucky (7-3)
9/21/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 1321
Friday, September 20, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Talk is cheap. Promises don’t mean much. “Shouldas”, “wouldas” and “couldas” are worthless chatter.
“We have been talking about this phrase `put it on tape’,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “We can do all of the talking we want but until we put it on tape it doesn’t mean much. We have to put it out there.
“In our lockers it says `PIOT’. We are not going to get an easy match no matter where we go. Everyone is going to be watching us. We have to put it on tape.”
The Lady Bisons will attempt to live up to their new slogan Saturday afternoon at 2 when No. 19-ranked Kentucky visits Allen Arena. The Lady Bisons, winners of their last three matches, are 7-3. Kentucky is 6-3 and coming off a 3-2 upset of No. 4-ranked Minnesota.
The goal is to have an attendance of at least 2,000 for the match. It will also be available live on ESPN3.
“I feel good that consistently we have played really well this season,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t think there is an overwhelming fear of getting caught up in the name.”
The Lady Bisons would love to sign their names to a win over Kentucky. No volleyball team in the history of the program has defeated a top 20 team. Kentucky’s upset of Minnesota is the biggest win in the history of UK's program.
“We have top 30 wins, but we don’t have a top 20 win,” Rosenthal said. “Kentucky just beat Minnesota and they are dealing with it as well. We are all fighting to be at the next level.
“Their win over Minnesota, I understand, is the highest they have ever had. If we are able to get the win over Kentucky that would be our highest win. Then we would start focusing on the top 15, the top 10, then the top five and No. 1. We are going to continue to give our players the opportunity to play teams that are going to make us better.”
All mid-major programs look for signature wins. Last year in Lexington the Lady Bisons lost a 3-2 match to Kentucky.
“Last year, to go up there and do what we did was fun,” Rosenthal said. “Our players are not scared. They welcome the challenge.
“There is a little more pressure because it is on our court. But this is what our players have signed up for. This is what they want.”
There are several connections to the Kentucky program. Five Lipscomb players are from Kentucky.
“They know Kentucky represents greatness in their state,” Rosenthal said. “To have them be able to say we not only played, but beat, Kentucky would be awesome for them.”
Assistant coach Ann Armes was a teammate of several of the Kentucky players. Rosenthal expects Armes to be more active in presenting the scouting report, but he knows that in volleyball it is difficult to prepare for everything.
“At some point, you have to play,” Rosenthal said. “Volleyball is a game of reaction. It is not a game of when they hit it here we do this or that.”
Junior middle blocker Jewell Dobson leads the Lady Bisons in kills (158), hitting percentage (.419) and blocks (19).
Setter Caitlin “Dot” Dotson has 413 assists. Libero Bri McCombs leads the team with 127 digs.
Kentucky is led by senior outside hitter Whitney Billings with 116 kills and 10 service aces. Junior defensive specialist Jackie Napper leads the team with 105 digs.
This is the final non-conference match of the season for the Lady Bisons. They opened Atlantic Sun play Sept. 18 at Northern Kentucky with a 3-0 win. They head to Florida to face Jacksonville Sept. 27 and North Florida Sept. 28.