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Lady Bisons not worried about playing a home match at Belmont
Alex Kelly
Alex Kelly

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Lady Bisons volleyball players will sleep in their own beds. They will eat at the same Nashville restaurants for pregame meals that they always visit. And they are not leaving the city Saturday when they face Campbell in an Atlantic Sun match.

The match may be listed as a home game for the Lady Bisons, but the court they will play Campbell on a 2 p.m. is located in the Curb Center at Belmont University, a short drive down the boulevard from Lipscomb. The change in locations was prompted by the Nashville Symphony using Allen Arena this weekend for a series of performances.

“We haven’t really made too much of the move,” Lady Bisons’ coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “I’ve talked to the captains about it. It is out of our control.”

The Lady Bisons are 15-5, 4-0 in the A-Sun. They have won their last six matches in a row. Campbell, which plays Belmont Friday night, is 8-12, 3-1 in the conference. The Camels have won six of their last eight matches and beat both Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson last weekend.

Rosenthal thinks the relocation of the match might give Campbell an edge. Friday night Campbell and Belmont will play at the Curb Center.

“I think if anything this probably favors Campbell more than anybody because they get to play back-to-back days in the same gym," Rosenthal said. "The bottom line is we have to go out and play.”

The Lady Bisons practiced at Belmont Thursday night. They played Belmont at the Curb Center Sept. 14 and won 3-0. “This is a big match,” Rosenthal said. “This is another second place team we are facing.

“Campbell is an interesting team. They played really well this past weekend. Their outsides, Emily Werner and Allyson Goldbach, are very good and very active. They have three setters that they use quite often and they are three very different setters. It is kind of a guessing game. They also do a real nice job at the net blocking.”

The Lady Bisons will be seeking to win their 30th straight regular season conference match. They have the longest active streak in the country with 29. The game is a home match so the Lady Bisons will also have a 22-match home court winning streak on the line.

“I never really paid attention to it until media people start talking about it,” Rosenthal said. “If you had asked me how many games we had won in a row I wouldn’t have been close.”

He thinks his players would only shrug if he brought up the record during team meetings.

“We have not even thought about," Rosenthal said.

Ironically, the conference regular season streak began with a 3-0 match win over Campbell in November 2008.

Middle blocker Alex Kelly leads the conference in kills with 4.30 per set. Setter Stefine “Jake” Pease leads the A-Sun with11.43 assists per set.

Rosenthal thinks this team is close to finding the type of performance groove that drove last year’s team.

‘Quite a few people are comparing last year’s team to this year’s team,” Rosenthal said. “Last year we found a real comfortable spot, fell into a groove and really rode it out.

“This team is not there yet. A couple of things that have happened in the last week-and-a-half or so lead me to think we are getting closer and closer. It has nothing to do with on the court stuff. It has everything to do with leadership and things being said by the girls to the other girls. “

Rosenthal said the change has nothing to do with anything he or assistant coach Samantha Sullivan has said or done.

“We are getting close to putting all of the things together,” Rosenthal said. “Last year at this point we were a pretty well-oiled machine.

“People thought this year it would be the same thing, but it is not. It is a much different team. We are still putting those little pieces together which is good. We don’t want to peak too early.”

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.