Tuesday, September 17, 2013
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – Now it gets serious.
Not that the preconference schedule hasn’t been important for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team, but Wednesday night at 5 they play the first Atlantic Sun match of the season against Northern Kentucky.
In what is expected to be one of the more competitive seasons in conference history coach Brandon Rosenthal knows all too well how important every victory is going to be.
“These girls know what is at stake,” Rosenthal said. “The conference championship is at stake. They know how important it is to get off on the right foot.”
The Lady Bisons, winners of their last two matches, are 6-3. Northern Kentucky is 4-5.
“It should be a fun match,” Rosenthal said. “They run an offense that is very similar to ours. They get after it on defense. They are well-coached.
“One of the things I am most impressed with about Northern Kentucky is that they have gone up against good opponents and they don’t fluster easily at all. That can be frustrating when teams can’t really get them off of their game. They know their style of play and they stick to it. They do it well.”
Rosenthal points to defense as being the key for both teams.
“The biggest thing for us, and for them too, is defending,” Rosenthal said. “Northern Kentucky does a fantastic job of touching the ball and extending plays. I think we do a good job of that as well.
“It will be interesting to see, not who does it better, but who is able to capitalize on those rather than just hitting the ball back and forth.”
The Lady Bisons lead the nation in kills with 16.07 per set and are third in the NCAA in assists with 14.52 per set.
Individually, setter Caitlin Dotson is second nationally in assists per set with 12.76. Middle blocker Jewell Dobson is in the top 10 nationally in two categories. She is seventh in kills per set with 4.97 and eighth in points per set with 5.45.
“I like the way our girls are playing,” Rosenthal said. “I feel confident about the way they are playing. I think confidence is a big key with this group.
“As a staff we have done a good job this week. We have put it in perspective. Our preparation has been short, but it has been good. I like the mentality of our team right now.”
Northern Kentucky lost several players through graduation, but new players are stepping up.
“Taylor Snyder, a redshirt freshman, is setting and doing a nice job,” Rosenthal said. “Jenna Ruble, a senior middle, runs the slide really well.”
The match will be the first one of the season between two A-Sun teams.
“Our girls are ready to go,” Rosenthal said. “We took Sunday off. We had a good practice Monday. We aren’t doing anything Tuesday except traveling. We have business to do and the first piece of business is Northern Kentucky. We’ll be ready.
“Northern Kentucky has played a good preconference schedule. I have no doubts Northern Kentucky will be ready. It will be fun to get there and get started. It would feel good to be 1-0 with a week before the next conference game.”
The game at Regents Hall will be available on live stats and on ASun.TV.
This is a busy week for the Lady Bisons. Saturday at 2 p.m. they return to Allen Arena to face Kentucky.