April 10, 2006
Teams and players get better in the off-season and the Lady Bisons volleyball team is no exception.
"Spring has been great," said Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal who is busy preparing for a return trip next season to the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. "The first thing about spring is to give us a chance to heal some injuries and rehab some things.
"It has also given us an opportunity to work individually with the players and develop some of areas of their game. I feel good where we are. I am excited. We have a couple of new players to bring in. We will keep pushing forward."
Saturday Rosenthal took his team to the University of Georgia in Athens to play in a dual round-robin format against Samford, Auburn and Alabama-Birmingham. The other round-robin featured Georgia, Mercer, Memphis and Jacksonville State.
Each match was two games. The Lady Bisons split with Samford, lost two games to UAB and lost tow games to Auburn.
"We were real excited to be playing someone else," said Rosenthal. "We lost two games to UAB but we were down in the second game 16-4 and came back and lost 30-25. Against Auburn we lost 30-27 and 30-27. And we didn't have Cara Wilber or Samantha Sullivan playing for us."
Rosenthal admits it is hard to gauge the progress of a team in spring games. But the games do provide a showcase for evaluating players individually.
"We have some team goals for the spring," but we are really working on individual things," said Rosenthal. "If we win in the spring that's great. If not, it's not the end of the world."
Rosenthal has seen steady improvement in the program. One emphasis will be on winning the close games that slipped away last season.
"Our team is so close right now," said Rosenthal. "The atmosphere is great. This team has been together for year and that makes a difference. Almost half the team was new last year and those new players saw a lot of playing time."
While the emphasis is on the team, Rosenthal will be counting on several players to also elevate their performances to a new level for the 2006 season.
"Ann Mullins had a great season last year, but she will be asked to do a little bit more," said Rosenthal. "Grace Gilmore will also be asked to do a little bit more. Attacking-wise Erin Pierce has moved to the right side and she will have to step up her game."
Today at 5 the Lady Bisons will play against Belmont at Allen Arena. There will be scrimmage drills with games the last half hour of the workout.