Lady Bisons open season in Birmingham, Ala.
Saturday, August 26, 2006

Aug. 26, 2006

The Lady Bisons volleyball team is ready to play someone wearing a different colored uniform.

They get that chance twice Saturday as they open the season with matches on the road against Birmingham Southern and Samford on the campus of Birmingham-Southern in Birmingham, Ala. Belmont is also making the trip south to play both Alabama teams.

"It is exciting to play someone else," said Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal. "We are not allowed to play exhibition matches. In practice it is different. In games the adrenalin really starts pumping. Part of the reason I am so excited is to see what we are doing right and what we are doing wrong. Then we can make adjustments.

"We're excited to see the team really opening up this weekend. We will take this and learn from it and move forward. We are kind of going in blindly. That is exciting, but it is also frustrating."

The Lady Bisons, picked to finish third in the Atlantic Sun Conference preseason poll, are veterans of college volleyball. The non-conference games should both be solid tests.

"Birmingham-Southern should be very interesting," said Rosenthal. "With their decision to move to NCAA Division III in the next couple of years a lot of players left. It should be a different Birmingham-Southern team than what we saw last year. We aren't going to take them lightly.

"When you look at Samford's roster they didn't really lose a whole lot. There is a good rivalry between us. We lost a tough five-game match down there. But we beat them here later in a three-game match.

The Lady Bisons will not play Belmont, but they will get a chance to watch them perform,

"In the past three years we didn't have the opportunities to get early wins," said Rosenthal. "It is tough. We have improved on our record every year over the last three, but after 13 wins that gets harder.

"If we are going to improve early on we have to win some of those early matches that go five games," said Rosenthal. "There were two last year that we lost that we probably should have won. The sport is great in the sense that anything can happen."

The Lady Bisons have lost sophomore Erin Pierce for the year as a medical red-shirt.

"That is kind of a blow to us," said Rosenthal. "She was going to get a lot of playing time. She had really worked hard in the spring and summer

"We have had a great preseason other than that. I am very confident in our players."