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Friday, October 30, 2009Two streaks collided Friday night and the crash was a grinding one.
The Lipscomb Lady Bisons entered their Atlantic Sun match with Jacksonville with a 17-game winning streak and a perfect 15-0 conference record. Jacksonville had a 13-game winning streak on the line. In fact, the last time Jacksonville had lost was Sept. 12 to Lipscomb at Allen Arena.
A rowdy crowd of more than 500 watched the Lady Bisons win 3-0 at Swisher Gym in Jacksonville.
After a grueling three-set match the Lady Bisons kept both of their streaks alive and pulled three games ahead of Jacksonville in the race for the Atlantic Sun regular season championship.
“This was a great test for us,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “It is important that we know what we are going to be able to do going down the stretch.”
The Lady Bisons won set one 30-28, set two 29-27 and set three 25-22. There were 20 ties in set one and 16 ties in set two.
“We did what we thought we could do,” said Rosenthal. “I think there was a ton of pressure on both teams. I think if it had just been a match between the No. 1 team and the No. 2 team in the conference it would have been different. Streaks take on a life of their own.
“I was really impressed with our girls. What stands out for me in the whole match was our ability to win the big points. It was a tough environment. The crowd was good.”
It was the 21st win of the season for the Lady Bisons, tying their all-time win total set last season. The Lady Bisons have won 18 straight matches and are 16-0 in the A-Sun. The win moved them three games ahead of Jacksonville.
The Lady Bisons could tie for the conference championship Saturday afternoon when they face North Florida (10-15, 4-11) at 2. North Florida was edged 3-2 by Belmont Friday night.
“We just got caught up in the emotion of the event,” said Rosenthal. “We didn’t even talk about it being our 21st win.
“We want to continue to get away from the pack. With four games to play in the conference we are up by three games. If we take care of business against North Florida we can’t finish any lower than a tie for first. “
Junior outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer led the way with a match-high 16 kills and a .355 hitting percentage.
“Meghan worked hard this week,” said Rosenthal. “I am very proud of her. We made some adjustments in some areas of her game that we thought could be improved.
“She took it upon herself to do some things on her own. For me, as a coach, that is phenomenal. Offensively, there were things that we saw in Jacksonville’s defense that she could take advantage of. She really trusted her ability and trusted her teammates around her. This was a great example of the player she can be for us.”
Junior middle hitter Alex Kelly added 15 kills.
Defensively, junior setter Stefine “Jake” Pease had 14 digs. She had 41 assists.
“So much of what Alex and Jake do cannot be measured on a score sheet, such as the hustle points they had,” said Rosenthal. “Even when Jacksonville did get a point it wasn’t an easy point.”
Sophomore libero Katie Rose added 12 digs.
“I thought that defensively we played really well,” said Rosenthal. “”We are always going to have digs, but out block numbers (three blocks, 12 assists) were very good.”