The Lady Bisons head into this weekend’s matches at Allen Arena with five straight match wins, all by 3-0 decisions. They have not lost a set in an Atlantic Sun match.
“The talk around school is that we are going to have a pretty good crowd,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “I’m excited for our players. I have been talking about how hard they have been working and what they have been putting into it every day.
“I really want to see that crowd. I want to hear that crowd because I think our players have earned it.”
Friday night at 6:30 they will face Mercer, 3-8, 1-3 in the conference. Saturday afternoon the Lady Bisons, 8-3, 5-0 in the A-Sun, will play Kennesaw State.
The rivalry between the Bears from Mercer and the Lady Bisons is a long and nasty one. The Lady Bisons have knocked Mercer out of the Atlantic Sun Tournament three years in a row, winning in the first round in 2005, the first round in 2006 and the first round in 2007 in Macon, Ga.
“We have a history with Mercer,” said Rosenthal. “We have battles with each other. We have a friendly rivalry with Belmont because our players know each other. We don’t know that much about Mercer. It is a rivalry that has carried over from year to year.
“I am not sure how it started or where it started, but I think it will always be there. I think that is neat. If you asked Mercer's coaches and players who their biggest rivalry is other than their travel partner and I think they would say Lipscomb. And if you asked our players the same question they would say Mercer.”
Kennesaw State has been one of the more surprising teams this season. They will bring a 7-4 record, 2-2 in the A-Sun to Nashville Friday to face Belmont before making the short trip to Lipscomb.
“I had a really good feeling that Kennesaw State was going to make a move,” said Rosenthal. “Their new coach (Karen Weatherington) brings a new energy to that team. Kennesaw State has some great athletes.
“When you look at the first part of their season they are really playing with a lot confidence. They play with a lot of emotion and if they get on a run that emotion just takes over the match. That is a scary combination _ real athletes playing with a lot of confidence.”
The Lady Bisons also have a great deal of confidence as well. Wednesday afternoon junior middle hitter Alex Kelly wrote on the board at the side of the court, “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”. Rosenthal was glad to see a player write that type of message.
“When a leading player takes the initiative to write that on the board, not for herself, but for the team that means a lot,” said Rosenthal. “I am kind of blown away by that. She does not want to lose.”
The Lady Bisons know what is at stake this season and what they want to accomplish. Rosenthal points out that this is a team that is just as competitive in practice as it is in a match.
“They take every day as serious as possible in the sense of preparing, but they have a good spirit about it," said Rosenthal. "You can get wrapped up in winning and losing so quickly that you lose sight of the fun part of it. When these girls play loose and are having fun they play better.”
The key for the Lady Bisons this season has been to control as many aspects of a set and match as possible.
“We do all of these scouting reports, but at the end we do a good bit of talking about what we want to do,” said Rosenthal. “It is game of reaction. As we try to stop the other team it is going to adjust.
“The talent to be able to see what they are doing and for us to adjust to it is huge. And having a very talented and experienced team helps us out tremendously.”