Oct. 20, 2006
Every time Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal talks with a recruit he invites them to be part of a program that is doing something.
Saturday that something could be a share of first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Lady Bisons defeated Kennesaw State 30-25, 30-24 and 30-15, hit the road and arrived in Athens, Tenn., for some much needed rest. Saturday morning there is a two-hour drive to ETSU for the biggest showdown of the season.
"I think it is important that our players understand what they are playing for at ETSU," said Rosenthal. "We're not making a huge deal out of it, but this is our first chance to ever be in a position to be in first place. To accomplish that would mean a lot to our players and the program."
ETSU beat Belmont in five games Friday night to remain undefeated at 6-0. It was the first A-Sun loss for Belmont this season. They are 5-1 as they face Kennesaw State this weekend.
The Lady Bisons are 5-1 with the win over Kennesaw State in Kennesaw, Ga., Friday night.
"This is something special for us," said Rosenthal. "We have never been 5-1 in the conference before. A couple of years ago we were 1-5 in the conference."
Rosenthal compared the meeting with ETSU with the seventh game in the National League playoffs between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals.
"This is what we have been working for," said Rosenthal. "ETSU is a team that is very similar to us. They have all of their players back from last season so they are very familiar with each other. I think we are going to have a battle with them."
In the Kennesaw State game Lindsey Rutherford continued her outstanding play with a match-leading 13 kills and a .500 hitting percentage. Ann Mullins added 17 digs and two service aces. Jessica Turner made 12 digs. Alex Scruggs made three service aces.
"We came out a little sluggish," said Rosenthal. "We gave them too many opportunities in the first game, but we were never out of control. We were never down by more than one or two points."
Kennesaw State led 21-20 in the first game before the Lady Bisons made a final charge for the win.
Both teams were solid in game two, with the Lady Bisons increasing their hitting percentage. In game three the Lady Bisons jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back.
"We did a lot of good things," said Rosenthal. "Our serving and our defense were outstanding. The main thing I told our players after the first game was that we were giving them too many opportunities. We needed to make things more difficult for them.
"We put a lot of pressure on them with our serves. The service aces were part of it, but we took them out of their offense."
The Lady Bisons are 10-13 overall. Kennesaw State, in its first season of NCAA volleyball, is 1-18, 0-6 in the conference.