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Lady Bisons open A-Sun Volleyball Tournament with 3-1 win over Mercer

Friday, November 18, 2005

Nov. 18, 2005

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The Lady Bisons volleyball team won its first every Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament game Friday morning with a 3-1 defeat of Mercer University.

The Lady Bisons, seeded No. 4 in the tournament, will face top-seeded Florida Atlantic this afternoon at 4:30 at the Curb Event Center at Belmont University.

"I'm very excited, not for me, but for the players," said Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal. "This is a payoff for a lot of our hard work."

Earlier this season the Lady Bisons had swept Mercer 3-0. This time around it was a little more challenging with the Lady Bisons winning game one 32-30 and game two 30-25 before losing game three 30-22. The Lady Bisons rallied in game four for a 30-26 win.

In game one the Lady Bisons took the lead and held it until Mercer rallied to tie the game at 17-17. Mercer took the lead at 19-18 and held it until the Lady Bisons fought back to tie the game at 27-27. A kill shot by Cara Wilber, a member of the A-Sun All-Freshman team sealed the win.

"In the first game we played a little bit nervous," said Rosenthal. "We jumped out to a great start, but Mercer was prepared."

The start of game two was much the same for the Lady Bisons as they rushed out to a 6-1 lead. Mercer was not able to tie or lead in the game. The Lady Bisons led by as many as eight points on two different occasions, at 24-16 and 25-17. Again the game point was made on a kill shot by Wilber.

"Our confidence was there in the second game," said Rosenthal. "We were able to show everybody what we are all about."

The momentum built up in game two did not carry through in game three. The Lady Bosons struck first, but Mercer came back. The game was tied at 12-12 and 17-17. The Lady Bisons could not take the lead, however, trailing by as many as eight points at 29-21.

"We let up a little bit in game three, " said Rosenthal. "We weren't aggressive enough. We thought we could ride the game out and win it."

In game four the Lady Bisons fell behind early, but took the lead at 7-6 on the first of three out of bounds plays in a row by Mercer. The Lady Bisons built up a five-point lead at 19-14 on a kill shot by Catherine Johnson. Mercer rallied to tie the game at 20-20. The Lady Bears took the lead at 25-24, but again the Lady Bisons came back.

"That game was two teams that were pretty evenly matched giving it their best," said Rosenthal. "That was a good match. We had some passing errors. And as I have said before, passing is a key. I'm very proud of the way our girls responded."

Wilber led the Lady Bisons with 26 kills and 19 digs along with a .333 hitting percentage. Ann Mullins made 33 digs, the third time this season she has finished with more than 30. Also in double figures in digs were Lindsey Rutherford and Samantha Sullivan with 12 apiece and Grace Gilmore with 11.

Jessica Turner added 13 kills and Alex Scruggs finished with 10.

"Cara started off slow, but I liked the end product," said Rosenthal. "She showed everyone why she is a member of the All-Freshman team and why she should have received votes for the All-Conference team."

The victory gives the Lady Bosons, 13-19, a new school record for wins. Mercer, the No. 5-seed in the tournament, finished the season 11-16 overall.