Friday at 5 p.m. CST the Lady Bisons, 24-6, will face Ohio State, 22-11, at the Frericks Center on the campus of host Dayton. Dayton, the No. 14 seed, will face Butler in the second match. The winners will play Saturday at 4:30 CST.
The Lady Bisons were the last team to practice Thursday night. It was a fairly routine hour or so of work.
“Last year at Ohio State we were taking pictures at practice,” Rosenthal said. “This time around it was just another practice on the road.
“That was kind of a neat thing in the progression of the program. We expect to be here.”
Trying to keep everything routine is one of the things Rosenthal has been working hard to do since the Lady Bisons qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
One thing that Rosenthal wants to avoid is the way the Lady Bisons played in the first two sets of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship against ETSU.
“We don’t want to get frustrated,” Rosenthal said. “Against ETSU we got frustrated. We saw our season deflating. Playing against teams like ETSU and Xavier at the end of the season has helped us to prepare.”
This is the third time the Lady Bisons have earned a berth in the tournament. It is the third time they have played in the first round in Ohio and the second time they have played in the tournament at Dayton.
But there are also some firsts as well. This is the first time the Lady Bisons have faced a team in the first round that is not seeded. It is also the first time they have played Ohio State.
But even more significant the teams have three common opponents, the first that has happened.
The Lady Bisons beat both Kennesaw State and Pittsburgh 3-0. They lost 3-0 to Purdue.
Ohio State beat both Kennesaw State and Pittsburgh 3-0 and lost to Purdue twice, 3-0 and 3-2.
“That gives us a little bit of familiarity,” Rosenthal said. “It puts us a little bit at ease. The girls have been around volleyball long enough to look at scores and figure out what is going on.”
The first 10 points of each set will be important, especially the first one.
“We have to be able to take those first 10 points and be competitive,” Rosenthal said. “The past couple of times we have been to the tournament the first 10 points were a struggle. What happens is that you try to make up for the first 10 points with the next 10.
“The key for us is to get settled in. I don’t think you are going to see big points swings either way in the first 10 points. We want to try to be consistent with everything.”
Rosenthal has been watching a lot of videotape along with his players. He is impressed with outside hitters Katie Dull, 5-foot-11, and Anna Szerszen, 6-3. He also is keeping a close eye on right side Emily Danks, 6-1.
“Their outsides are really good,” Rosenthal said. “They put a lot of pressure on you at the night blocking-wise. They are a tough serving team. They are going to score points.
“Katie Dull is a tremendous player. I think Emily Danks has one of the best serves I have ever seen. She is ranked third in the nation in aces. She also gives them another outlet.”
For the Lady Bisons it will be all about the little details.
“The key for us is passing and getting into the rhythm of our offense,” Rosenthal said. “If we can extend the rallies that will favor us. We have to do a lot of little things right.”
The Lady Bisons are 0-2 in the first round. Last season they lost to California 3-0 by scores of 25-12, 25-22 and 25-9 in Columbus. In 2007 they fell to Dayton 3-0 by set scores of 30-17, 30-25 and 30-19.
The Lady Bisons are 0-1 against Dayton overall. They have never played Butler in volleyball.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.