Oct. 24, 2005
Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal no longer has to look for the asterisk.
For the past few days Rosenthal has clicked on the Atlantic Sun website checking to see if the Lady Bisons had qualified for their first conference tournament berth. He felt confident that the team's 5-2 record, with two conference games remaining, was good enough, but he wanted it to be official.
"I checked Sunday morning and it didn't have the asterisk," Rosenthal said. "I checked in the afternoon and it did. It was a sense of achievement. We have to take these little victories and build off of them."
Making the tournament has always been a goal, but Rosenthal gave his team the realistic challenge of being one of the top six teams in the A-Sun this year. They have a 5-2 record, and could be as high as the third seed.
"It's one of those things we have talked about for a couple of years," said Rosenthal. "It has been no secret that has been our goal. To get there at this point in the season has been tremendous for us. It is a validation of all our hard work, not just this year, but what we have tried to do for the last couple of years."
The Lady Bisons already have 10 victories, the most ever for the program with six more regular season games left to play. Rosenthal directed the team to eight victories his first year and nine last season.
"My hat goes off to our players and what they bring to the table day in and day out," Rosenthal said. "We have a trend of eight, nine and 10 wins. I would like to see that kind of open up with at least a couple of more wins. I would like to see us going into the tournament with a little bit of momentum."
Rosenthal admits that he thought the team would be ready for a tournament spot in his third season as head coach. He also knew he had a number of new players to blend into the 2005 team with three freshmen and three transfers.
"That sounds very optimistic, but I really thought that if we could take care of some things as far as team volleyball that is could happen in the third year,' Rosenthal said. "Saying that and doing it are two different things."
At the Magnolia Classic at Ole Miss in early September in Oxford he was convinced this team had tournament potential.
"We were up against really tough competition," said Rosenthal. "We opened up with North Carolina Sate and played great against them. We played pretty good against Texas. We beat Lamar and then came back and gave Ole Miss everything they wanted. We all started to realize it could happen."
Rosenthal thinks the success of the program has let him know that his game plan has been a sound one from day one.
"We knew it was going to take time and patience is the hardest thing," said Rosenthal. "It is validation to myself that the way we have done it is the only way, but we have set forth this plan and stayed the course with it. With time we knew good things were going to happen."
Rosenthal promised his players that they would one day be in the conference tournament. He can feel even more confident in relaying that message to future recruits.
"From a recruiting standpoint I love it," Rosenthal said. "We have lived up to the things we have promised. From a personal standpoint my word is everything. We have talked a lot about hanging in there. Now it has happened. This is fun."