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Monday, September 13, 2010Lady Bisons’ volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal always wants his team to play the best opponents possible. And one of those top teams is located less than two miles down Belmont Boulevard from the Lipscomb campus.
Tuesday afternoon at 5 the Lady Bisons, 8-2, make the short trip to Belmont, 4-7, for volleyball’s version of the “Battle of the Boulevard”. This match will not count in the Atlantic Sun Conference standings. The A-Sun match will be held Nov. 9 at Allen Arena, the regular season finale.
“The Lipscomb-Belmont match always carries a little extra weight,” Rosenthal said. “It will be neat to see where both of us are at this stage of the season. We want to go where we will be challenged. We know that every time we play Belmont we are going to get their best.
“The rest of the conference will be watching. They will be able to gauge two of the top teams where they are compared to their teams.”
The only common opponent for the two teams this year is Purdue. Both Lipscomb and Belmont lost 3-0. The Lady Bisons have won their last six matches, all by 3-0 scores.
The Lady Bisons are led by senior middle blocker Alex Kelly who is first in the conference in hitting percentage (.350), kills (4.48 per set) and points (5.18 per set). Setter Stefine “Jake” Pease leads the conference in assists with 11.30 per set.
The Lady Bisons are first in the conference in hitting percentage (.239), opponent’s hitting percentage (.121), assists (12.85 per set), kills (13.70 per set) and digs (16.73 per set).
“We have been asked a lot about why we wanted to play them twice,” Rosenthal said. “We talk about going out and playing good programs and they fall well into that category.
“I truly believe that Lipscomb and Belmont should play twice every year. It helps the rivalry and it is only a two-mile away match for us.” Belmont offers a few twists this season with the addition of some new players. Coach Deane Webb has also done more shifting of personnel than usual.
“Belmont has some good wins on its schedule,” Rosenthal said. “There is some unpredictability to them that we haven’t seen in the past couple of years. It is one of those things where are trying to get an idea of who they are going to be playing.
“There is a possibility that a freshman will be playing setter. They also have a freshman on the outside and another freshman in the middle. They also have a sophomore on the outside that we saw in the spring. “
Belmont holds a 25-6 advantage in the overall series, including an 11-2 record at home. But the Lady Bisons have narrowed that bulge in the past few seasons including three wins over Belmont in 2009.
“Belmont holds a big edge in the rivalry,” Rosenthal said. “We have a lot of catching up to do.
“We know each other fairly well. We want to best each other in the conference, but we also want to be the best in the city as well. The last four seasons the Atlantic Sun Tournament champion has been from Nashville.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.