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Thursday, November 15, 2007
Nov. 15, 2007
Playing Mercer University in the first round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament is becoming a habit for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.
Playing them in front of their home crowd at the University Center in Macon, Ga., in front of their home crowd is a different matter. The Lady Bisons, 17-11, 7-4, are the No. 4 seed. Mercer, 8-19, 6-5, is the No. 5 seed. The match starts Thursday night at 6:30.
"I don't think the number next to our name means much," said Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal. "I don't know if any of the team are thinking about their records or their seedings.
"I think every team believes this is going to be a wild tournament. With the new format where we are not playing two matches in one day anything can happen."
The winner would advance to play Belmont, the No. 1 seed, Friday.
"This year is a little bit different," said Rosenthal. "Playing them on their home court is a bit of a challenge. For us it comes down to playing to the best of our abilities.
"Mercer has played a tough schedule. They took Belmont to four games. We have two teams that are just going to battle. The games are going to be close. The winner is going to be the team that controls and limits it hitting errors."
In their previous two visits to the A-Sun Tournament the Lady Bisons have beaten Mercer in the first round. Both of those matches were played at Belmont University.
The Lady Bisons lost 3-2 earlier this season at Mercer.
"We are looking at a little bit of redemption," Rosenthal said. "It is a very good rivalry. It has grown because of our placement in the tournament.
"The first round is nerve-wracking for everyone in the tournament. You realize you can't look ahead, but at the same time you have to keep your eye on the prize. I imagine there will some edgy nerves on both sides."
This is the first time that the Lady Bisons have played in the tournament when it was not held in Nashville. Rosenthal likes the fact his team is on the road.
"There is more control from a coaching standpoint in terms of focus and things like that," Rosenthal said. "When we left campus all they have to think about is the conference tournament.
"Our players are experienced not only from the tournament but from the tough matches we played this season. You want to win as many games as possible, but you want to prepare for the tournament."