Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The Lipscomb Volleyball team has announced their schedule for the upcoming 2011 season.
Not only will next year’s team have six new players, but the Lady Bisons will also play a schedule unlike any from past years.
Lipscomb will play 12 regular season matches at home in 2011, along with hosting the Atlantic Sun Championships for the first time ever. The Lady Bisons will also host a tournament with out of conference teams during Labor Day weekend.
“We are hosting a pre-conference tournament Labor Day weekend,” Rosenthal said. “That is something we have never done, and then on the back end of it, we are hosting the Atlantic Sun Tournament. It is a lot of exposure for Nashville and our Lipscomb fans. I am excited about that, and I am excited about playing in front of our crowd.”
Lipscomb will kick off the season in Houston on Aug. 26 in an invitational tournament that will include Houston, Xavier, and Central Arkansas. The Lady Bisons will return home to host Tennessee Tech, Charlotte, and Arkansas State in the invitational tournament.
Lipscomb will then hit the road for another pre-conference tournament at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will host Lipscomb along with Valparaiso and Portland in a three-day tournament.
Apart from the three tournaments, Lipscomb will host Western Kentucky, Austin Peay, and Louisville in individual regular season matches throughout the year.
The conference schedule will also have a different look in 2011.
For the first time, the Atlantic Sun has opted to create divisions among the 10 volleyball teams. Lipscomb will play in the northern division along with Belmont, ETSU, Kennesaw State, and USC Upstate. The Lady Bisons will play each of these teams both at home and away. Lipscomb will play the other five teams in the conference only once, either at home or away.
Head coach Brandon Rosenthal said the change would cut down on travel, but he would still miss aspects of playing every team twice.
“The conference is trying something new,” Rosenthal said. “I hate to say that I don’t like it, but I do like playing everyone home and home, the double round robin. I felt like it really created some good rivalries. “
“It is a bit disappointing, but I am glad we are getting to play everybody. In looking at what we have done over the last couple of years, we are always going to have the target on our backs.”
With the losses of setter Stefine “Jake” Pease, the A-Sun Player of the Year; middle blocker Alex Kelly, A-Sun Tournament MVP; outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer, an all-conference selection; and Elly Kaiser and Tory Ashcraft, many might suspect that Lipscomb would tone down their non-conference schedule.
However, that is far from true, and next year’s schedule exemplifies Lipscomb’s desire to compete in the upper echelon of the NCAA each and every season.
“Overall, one of the things that we have always said is that we want to be in that top 50 range,” Rosenthal said. “We are always going to schedule that way.”