Thursday, October 01, 2009The Lady Bisons have headed east this weekend with a heavy load of baggage.
Friday night at 6 they will face ETSU in Johnson City. Saturday afternoon at 1 they will be in Buies Creek, N.C., one of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Sun.
The Lady Bisons baggage includes wins in their last eight matches, including seven in the A-Sun; and 24 consecutive set wins, 21 of them in the A-Sun.
“This is the probably the toughest trip travel-wise for us,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “This weekend could definitely help us, but we could also fall back into the pack if we don’t play well.”
The Lady Bisons are 11-3, 7-0 in the A-Sun. ETSU is 5-9, 4-2 in the conference. The overall series record between the Lady Bisons and ETSU is 4-4.
“ETSU is a tough place to play,” said Rosenthal. “They really do a nice job with their fans. I expect it to be a tough challenge.”
One of the biggest concerns for the Lady Bisons is setter Amanda Youell who ranked third in the A-Sun in assists with 491. Whitney Cogburn, a right side; and Whitney Barber in the middle are also getting the attention of the Lady Bisons.
“We don’t normally see a whole lot of dominance by the right side,” said Rosenthal. “It is a little different. It definitely puts a little more pressure on out outsides blocking.
“ETSU is a pretty good defensive team too. I think we will be put to the test.”
The Lady Bisons are led by setter Stefine “Jake” Pease who leads the conference with 11.77 assists per set. Middle hitter Alex Kelly is the conference leader in kills per set with 4.45.
The Lady Bisons as a team lead the A-Sun in hitting percentage (.264), assists per set (13.68), kills per set (14.80) and digs per set (16.64).
“Our players are real focused,” said Rosenthal. “The favorite part of it all for me as a coach is there isn’t a lot of building it up. “They know what to do. Almost midway through the season they are ready. For me it is a matter of just relaxing and letting them go about their business.”
The Lady Bisons arrived in Johnson City early Thursday evening. After dinner the players were scheduled to return to their rooms to relax and get ready for Friday. Rosenthal expects to have a short video session Friday morning followed by a mid-day practice and then a trip back to the hotel for lunch.
Rosenthal and his players are not addressing the winning streaks.
“I think it is kind of fun the way we’ve got it going,” said Rosenthal. “It will all take care of itself.”
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