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Lady Bisons set for challenging weekend of A-Sun competition

Friday, November 03, 2006

Nov. 3, 2006

It's another weekend of Atlantic Sun Conference volleyball and another weekend of tough competition for the Lady Bisons.

Friday night Jacksonville visits Allen Arena at 7. Jacksonville and the Lady Bisons are both 5-2 in the conference. Jacksonville is 14-11 overall. The Lady Bisons are 12-14.

North Florida visits at 7 Saturday. North Florida is tied with Belmont for second with a 6-1 record. North Florida, 15-14 overall, is not eligible for the conference tournament.

The Lady Bisons have already secured their second consecutive berth in the A-Sun Tournament to be held at Belmont University. This weekend's games will help determine seeding.

"We are putting ourselves in a position where if we get a couple of victories we could be looking at a No. 2 or No. 3 seed," said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. "Our players have worked extremely hard to get into this position. It will be interesting to see where we are after this weekend. We can't take any of this for granted."

Three Lady Bisons will be playing their last collegiate games in Allen Arena. Lindsey Rutherford and Catherine Johnson, four-year players for the Lady Bisons, and Samantha Sullivan, who has played two years will be honored on Senior Day.

"Lindsey and Catherine have seen the other side of the program," said Rosenthal. "It should be fun for them because they been through the whole process. The program has come so far since they started. And here we are with a chance to be .500. That would be huge.

"Samantha has had a long road. She played two years in a junior college in California. Then she traveled across country to a school she didn't really know about to start over again. I am so proud of her and the way she has been able to grow and play to her capabilities."

Rosenthal thinks both matches will be dog fights.

"These are two teams that we expected to be right where they are," said Rosenthal. "Jacksonville is a very tall team and very powerful. We are prepared mentally and physically to play that type of game.

"North Florida is very athletic and very quick. They have a great defensive team. When you watch them on tape you are impressed with the small things they do play-after-play."

The Lady Bisons are coming off a strong 3-2 match win over Tennessee State Tuesday night. Rosenthal predicts his team will need a similar effort against Jacksonville and North Florida.

"It is going to take an effort like we had against TSU," said Rosenthal. "There can be very little letdown.

"We have talked about peaking at the right time. Our players can look at the TSU game as a good confidence booster."