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Setter Jake Pease runs Lady Bisons offense
Jake Pease
Jake Pease

Thursday, October 16, 2008

In football the quarterback is highly visible, often getting too much credit when the team wins and too much blame when the team loses.

Setter Stefine “Jake” Pease is in her second year as the setter for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team. As the quarterback of the Lady Bisons much of what she does goes unnoticed by the average fan.

The Lady Bisons are 9-1 and tied for first in the Atlantic Sun Conference. They have gone through a number of challenges, but have managed to not only survive but thrive.

“When you look at the first half of the season she has done a great job adjusting to some of the changes we have had,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “We have had to switch directions and Jake has handled that extremely well.

“She is getting a multitude of people involves. In years’ past we didn’t have to get as many involved. She has done a phenomenal job of leading a team that we didn’t think would be in transition.”

Pease won numerous awards last season including Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year and Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP. This season she has been even better for the Lady Bisons as she leads the conference overall in assists with 801 and is also first in conference games only in assists with 384.

The Lady Bisons are first in kills overall in the conference with 1,044 and first in conference games only with 520. They are first in assists in conference games only (479) and second in assists overall (956).

Sophomore middle blocker Alex Kelly is first in the conference overall in kills (314) and first in hitting percentage overall (.331). She is third in hitting percentage in conference games only (.358 and first in kills (155).

Pease is the player behind those stats as she is one who distributes the ball. Not only Kelly, but virtually every Lady Bisons player, has improved over last year’s hitting percentage.

“One thing Jake has had to do is to try to get a feel for a match early on,” said Rosenthal. “She has to have a feel for how everyone is playing. That is the toughest thing she faces on a match-to-match basis is determining who is going to be hot.

“She does a great job of that. As the quarterback, that challenge is always with her. She and Alex have a connection that goes beyond their playing together here since they played together in club volleyball. They understand each other and can take their play to an extra level. When they connect things go pretty good for us.”

Pease, despite all of her accolades last season as the Lady Bisons won the Atlantic Sun Tournament and advanced to their first ever NCAA Tournament, she has some areas of her game that needed work.

“I think her defense has stepped up 1-fold from last year,” Rosenthal said. “That has helped out a lot. We addressed this in the spring and she has worked hard to be a disciplined defensive player.

“In the matches where she has been able to get a lot of digs we have won fairly easy. Is there a correlation? I think there is.”

The biggest key for Pease is her overall athletic ability, something she probably relied on too much at times last season.

“She has the speed to get to almost every ball on the court,” said Rosenthal. “A lot of setters just can’t do that and other people have to end up setting.

“The deception of where she is setting is the thing that is missed the most. People think they know where she is going, but she goes in another direction. She is good at it now, but she only going to get better and better.”

The Lady Bisons lost 3-2 at Tennessee State Tuesday night, the final nonconference game of the season. The remaining 10 games are all in the conference as they complete the second half of the round-robin schedule starting with Stetson Saturday at 2 p.m. in Deland, Fla., and Florida Gulf Coast Sunday at noon in Fort Myers, Fla.