NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb volleyball season starts now.
That is the slogan this squad has for the upcoming season to bounce back from its performance of falling short of winning the A-Sun Championship.
The Lady Bisons came into the season with a young team, losing three seniors from last season, including the co-A Sun Player of the Year, Katie Rose.
“When you take a look at the season, we knew going into it that it was going to be a big challenge from the stand point of trying to win it for the fourth time in a row to the departure of three pivotal seniors to the schedule we laid out knowing that we were young,” Rosenthal said. “I’m very proud of our girls.”
The Lady Bisons had a tough schedule, playing six teams ranked inside the top 60 in the RPI ratings. North Carolina, 14th, Kentucky, 19th, and Long Beach State, 60th, were the first three opponents for LU during the Kentucky Classic. Western Kentucky, 28th, Arizona, 50th, and Missouri, 58th, are the other three teams.
“Our girls continued to fight throughout the year,” Rosenthal said. “You take a look at the preseason schedule, probably the toughest we’ve had and played a couple of really close matches and came up short.”
In their second match of the season, the Lady Bisons took No.13 Kentucky to five sets, but could not pull off the upset.
The Lady Bisons went 3-8 in the tough out-of-conference schedule. But the team never had its head down heading into the A-Sun schedule.
“A lot of teams might have carried that over,” Rosenthal said. “But I was really proud of our girls of starting the conference season off 7-0 and really going through that first part of it with one blemish and then going into the second part and understanding that we were still in it.”
The Lady Bisons went 18-11 overall and finished second in the A-Sun standings with a record of 15-3 in conference play. Unfortunately, LU lost in the semifinals of the A-Sun Tournament to the eventual A-Sun Champions ETSU.
“I can’t say enough on how proud I was of the girls and the way they fought and continued to answer the bell,” Rosenthal said. “This program is going to be measured by how we do in the postseason and we came up a little short this year. I don’t think it was by any lack of effort. I was proud of our girls the way they fought through a match where we made too many mental mistakes.”
For one Lady Bison, this is the end of her volleyball college career. Kaycee Green was the lone senior on the team and led the team with 3.99 kills per set, which also led the A-Sun Conference.
“This is the end to a wonderful career for Kaycee, somebody who was a part of three Atlantic Sun Championships,” Rosenthal said. “This is somebody I’m extremely proud of, not just for her play, statistics and championships, but more for what she represents and that was somebody who came in with a very open mind and willingness to learn and really succeed.
“But most important I’m proud of what she did in her final year when it was her chance to step up. I’m really proud of what Kaycee has become as a person.”
Green was named back-to-back A-Sun Player of the Week Sept. 24 and Oct. 1, the first A-Sun player to do so since the 2009 season. Green was also named the TSWA Player of the Week for volleyball Oct. 30 and named on the All-A Sun Second Team. The Cookeville, Tenn., native was named on the A-Sun All-Tournament Team.
Overall, the Lady Bisons had four A-Sun Players of the Week this season, more than any other A-Sun team. LU also had four TSWA Players of the Week, which is also more than any other Tennessee team.
Five Lady Bisons received postseason awards, four of the seven spots on the All-A Sun Second Team-Green, Caitlin Dotson, Lauren Ford and Jewell Dobson.
Dotson was voted at the A-Sun Scholar-Athlete of the Year and was the only unanimous choice on the All-Academic Team. Dotson led the A-Sun Conference with 11.67 assists per set, which ranks third in school history, and ranks eighth in the NCAA.
Ford was also named on the All-Academic Team and Molly Spitznagle was named on the All-A Sun Freshman Team.
The Lady Bisons will also be losing graduate assistant coach Jake Pease. Pease will graduate in May 2013 in math education.
“We lose a vital piece of our puzzle in Jake, who’s been part of our program for six years,” Rosenthal said. “She is going to be moving on with graduation and has been so huge to this program. She is going to be one of those people, looking back 10-20 years from now, who will be remembered for what Lipscomb volleyball is all about.”