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Thursday, December 03, 2009COLUMBUS, Ohio _ Before this week few, if any, of the members of the California volleyball team had ever heard of the Lipscomb Lady Bisons.
Friday afternoon at 5 CST, Cal, the No. 9 seed, and the Lady Bisons will meet in the first round of the NCAA Tournament here at St. John Arena on the campus of tournament host Ohio State. Cincinnati rounds out the four teams in the tournament. Saturday at 6 CST the winners will play with the winner moving on to Gainesville, Fla.
Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal thinks that Cal is probably more than a little intrigued by the Lady Bisons who are both the regular season and tournament champions. The Lady Bisons enter the tournament with a 25-match winning streak and a 28-3 record overall, including a 22-0 worksheet against Atlantic Sun Conference foes.
“When you look at it from Cal's standpoint they are playing a team that they have to beat and should beat,” said Rosenthal. “But they also have to be wondering who we are.
“We have won 25 straight matches. I don't care what conference you are in; that's an accomplishment. If it wasn't for our record they would probably be looking past us, but because of our record I think they are going to approach us very differently.”
Cal finished fourth in the Pac-10 Conference with an 11-7 record, 18-11 overall. Cal is ranked 10th in the country. Rosenthal has great respect for the program, head coach Rich Feller and assistant coach Matt.McShane.
Cal is making its eighth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Cal has won is last seven NCAA first round matches. The Lady Bisons are making their second NCAA appearance. They are 0-1 in the first round with a loss in 2007 to Dayton.
“Cal is by the best program we have ever played,” said Rosenthal. “The Pac-10 is the best volleyball conference.
“But at the end of the day what does that mean? While we have a tremendous amount of respect for Cal our girls are not scared of Cal.”
Two of their top players are senior outside hitter Hana Cutura, the Pac-10 Player of the Year, and junior setter Carli Lloyd.
“Cutura is going to get her points,” said Rosenthal. “Lloyd is a tremendous athlete. I say that with a lot of respect because I think we have one of the best setters in the country in Jake Pease.”
Rosenthal thinks the match will depend heavily on how well both setters perform.
“I think Jake will be a major, major factor,” said Rosenthal. “With the way we run our offense she is going to take the lead.
“I couldn't ask for a better one. I would put Jake up against any setter in the country.”
Rosenthal thinks that the way the Lady Bisons perform in the first 10 minutes will determine the outcome of the match. “We have to settle in and just run our game plan,” said Rosenthal. “You have to serve, pass and play defense.”
Gametracker will be available on Ohio State's website. The link for free streaming video is