Nov. 17, 2005
All the 5 a.m. practices. The monotonous miles in vans and buses. Going over game plans again and again. Working endless hours on the fundamentals.
All of that sacrifice is rewarded this weekend for the Lady Bisons volleyball team. Friday at 11 a.m., the No. 4-seeded Lady Bisons play No. 5-seeded Mercer in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Volleyball Tournament at Belmont University's Curb Event Center. The winner moves on to a 4:30 game with top-seeded Florida Atlantic University.
"I like the draw," said Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal. "I think Mercer is going to be a great match. We have a good scouting report on them.
"I'm excited. If anything, it is a benefit for us to play the first game. We don't have to sit around and wait. There won't be much time in the morning to worry about it or let it all sink in. Before they know it we will be playing."
The Lady Bisons, 5-4 in the conference, beat Mercer 3-0 at Allen Arena this season.
This is the first trip to the A-Sun Tournament for the Lady Bisons, who finished the season with a school-record 12 victories and 19 losses. Picked to finish ninth in preseason polls they ended the season in fourth place.
Rosenthal doesn't see any signs of tournament jitters from his team.
"They are ready," said Rosenthal. "We are worrying about one game and one game only. We haven't talked about playing another game in the same day with only a small break."
Only one player on the team has played in a conference tournament. Libero Ann Mullins played for the University of Tennessee in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.
"I don't worry about it," said Rosenthal. "We haven't discussed it. As a credit to them they are approaching it as another game."
Also playing Friday will be Belmont, the No. 3 seed, against No. 6-seeded East Tennessee State. The winner of that match will play No. 2-seeded Jacksonville in the final match of the day.
The championship game of the six-team tournament will be held Saturday. The tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.