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Challenging 2013 slate set for volleyball

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With a roster full of veterans and a talented group of freshmen joining the squad, the Lipscomb volleyball head coach Brandon Rosenthal and his squad are looking forward to getting the 2013 campaign under way.

“I feel that we have put together a great schedule,” said Rosenthal.  “As always, we will continue to challenge ourselves with top level competition.  Right out of the gate we head to the University of Georgia and will play them on opening night.  Not only will that be a tough match but matches against TCU, and Furman will create a challenging tournament for us right out of the gate.”

After a trip to the “Peach State”, the Lady Bisons open home action with the 2013 edition of the Lipscomb Invitational on Labor Day weekend. South Alabama, Samford and Jacksonville State will make up the field for the round-robin event at Allen Arena.

Lipscomb then hits the road for Blacksburg, Va., and the 2013 Hokie Classic hosted by Virginia Tech.  Along with a Friday night, primtime match against the host Hokies, the Lady Bisons are also slated to take the court against two unfamiliar opponents in Duquesne and William and Mary.

“We have been working with Virginia Tech for the past couple of years to make this happen and are very excited to finally get it on the schedule,” said Rosenthal. “We have a great deal of respect for their coaches and program and it should be a great tournament.”

Road action continues for LU with a midweek matchup at Northern Kentucky to open the lid on the Atlantic Sun Conference season before the Purple and Gold return home to host Southeastern Conference power Kentucky at Allen Arena.

“We are thrilled to be hosting Kentucky in Allen Arena,” said Rosenthal.  “Last year, we lost a heartbreaker in five at their place and our team has been looking forward to another chance at the Wildcats.  

“UK is a sweet 16 team from last year's NCAA Tournament and will pose quite the challenge.  Both coaching staffs are very familiar with each other’s program and this year with Ann Armes on our staff, that will be another twist.  Craig Skinner and I are very good friends and he is one of the best in the game, but when that first whistle blows I know both teams will be ready for a battle.”

After the battle against Kentucky is in the books, Lipscomb hits the heart of A-Sun league action with a trip to take on Jacksonville and North Florida before returning home for five straight matches in the “Music City” as USC Upstate, ETSU, Northern Kentucky, Mercer and Kennesaw State come to town.

“This will be one of the deepest A-Sun fields I have ever experienced in my 11 years,” noted Rosenthal.  “A good majority of the teams bring back a great deal of experience and as a whole the A-Sun Conference should have one of the best years it has ever had.  

“All in all, when you are playing experienced teams, as a coach you have to just step back and let the players take care of their business.  We are very familiar with these teams and our players understand the challenges that we will face throughout the season.”

A return trip to the “Sunshine State” awaits after the lengthy homestand to take on Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson.  LU is then scheduled to return home for rematches with Jacksonville and North Florida to finish out the month of October.

The Lady Bisons open the final month of the season with a four-game road stretch at Kennesaw State, Mercer, ETSU and USC Upstate before closing out the 2013 regular season at home against Stetson and FGCU.

“With as tough as the competition is and no off weekends the A-Sun schedule should be an absolute grind,” said Rosenthal.  “I am confident in our girls that they will be ready to go as they are looking to get back on top.  I feel that the experiences that we went through on the mission trip to Brazil and the summer work that they are currently involved with will only help our program return to the NCAA Tournament.  This team is very hungry to get back on the court and get back to business.”

To claim the fifth A-Sun title in school history, the Lady Bisons will have to do it on the road as the 2013 Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship is headed to the Atlanta metro area as Kennesaw State hosts the event after a two-year run in Nashville.