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Tuesday, October 12, 2010Lipscomb University’s Lady Bisons will host the Atlantic Sun Conference Volleyball Tournament in 2011 and 2012.
Lipscomb athletic director Philip Hutcheson presented the bid Tuesday during the conference meetings in Macon, Ga. All games will be played at Lipscomb’s Allen Arena.
“On the heels of successfully hosting the A-Sun Basketball Tournament, and in year two of hosting the A-Sun Baseball Championship, we're thrilled and honored that the Conference would select Lipscomb as host of the 2011 and 2012 Volleyball Championships,” Hutcheson said. “There were three other bids for the right to host, and believe me; all of them were worthy candidates for this honor.
“Interest in volleyball over the past several years has exploded among people in Middle Tennessee, and we hope to build on the enthusiasm and excitement that's already here.”
Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal is excited that the tournament will be on the Lady Bisons’ home court. The last time the conference volleyball tournament was held in Nashville was in 2005 and 2006 at Belmont.
“We made an attempt to get for the past two years ago but Florida Gulf Coast received the bid,” Rosenthal said. “It is a lot more work, but it will be great to be in our own locker room and not have to travel. There are a lot of good things that are going to come from this.”
The A-Sun Baseball Tournament returns to the Lipscomb campus in May of 2011. Lipscomb has twice hosted the A-Sun Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments as well as the Cross Country Championships.
Hutcheson praised Rosenthal and his players for helping to make the bid a successful one in addition to members of the athletic department staff members and volunteers.
“The credit for the awarding of this bid really goes two places,” Hutcheson said. “First, is to Coach Rosenthal and his student-athletes. They've done a tremendous job over the past several years in building our program into one that competes consistently for the Conference championship and that has attracted attention way beyond the borders of A-Sun. In addition, they've done a superb job of engaging our fan base in a way that has built a lot of support around the program and the sport in general. We think our fellow schools recognize that excitement and anticipate it helping to create a great atmosphere come tournament time.
“I also think it is a credit to our staff and volunteers who have done such a fine job behind the scenes the past three years with the basketball and baseball tournaments. It takes an awful lot of hands to get all the work done at one of these events, and I feel like the committee recognized the hospitality and hard work our people have shown in the past, and it anticipates two more great events in 2011 and 2012.”
This season the tournament returns to Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Fla., from Nov. 18-20. The Lady Bisons are defending champions for both the regular season and the tournament. Rosenthal doesn’t think there will be any additional pressure for his Lady Bisons to serve as the hosts.
“It comes at the right time for our program and what we are trying to do,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t think there will be any more pressure than what we see every day.
“Obviously, we have to make the tournament next season. That is going to be a tougher challenge because we are losing a very good senior class. It is not anything that we wouldn’t be up for any way. I don’t see it as a challenge. I see it as more of an incentive.”
The Lady Bisons will be saying good-bye to setter Stefine “Jake” Pease, the 2010 A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year; middle blocker Alex Kelly, two-time A-Sun Player of the Year; and outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer, a preseason All-Conference selection; as well as setter Elly Kaiser and defensive specialist Tory Ashcraft.
“We will be a younger team so it will be fun to have it here,” Rosenthal said. “These girls are going to get a real good chance of playing in front of the home crowd in a tournament. That’s the exciting part.”
Rosenthal is looking forward to playing in front of large home crowds in a tournament atmosphere.
“For big matches we are getting 1,200 to 1,500 people this season,” Rosenthal said. “I would imagine that for a championship match we could easily get 2,000 to 2,500 people. If you put 2,500 into our arena based on the way it is configured will be exciting.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.