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Lady Bisons close out season in semi-finals of A-Sun Tournament

Friday, November 17, 2006

Nov. 17, 2006

Final Stats

The season is over, but the Lady Bisons didn't let go without a struggle.

In the semi-finals of the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament the No. 3-seeded Lady Bisons fell 3-0 to No. 2-seed Belmont. The scores of the games were 30-26, 30-23 and 30-24 Friday night at the Curb Event Center on the Belmont campus.

`I give a lot of credit to my team for fighting as hard as it did," Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. "I thought we came out with a great game plan.

"My hat is off to Belmont. They played a wonderful match. In sports sometimes you are on the short end and we got beat by a team that played better than us."

The Lady Bisons closed out the season with a 14-17 record, the most victories in the history of the program. Rosenthal stressed that the season went beyond the statistics.

"I am so proud of my players, not just for this match but for the whole year," Rosenthal said. "I asked them to give me everything they have got and they did. It is hard to take a loss, but at the same time there was something pretty special that we saw here.

"We are about a lot of character. We continue to find players to bring into our program and explain to them what we are about."

Three Lady Bisons played their final match of their collegiate careers _ setter Samantha Sullivan, right side Lindsey Rutherford and ?/ Catherine Johnson.

Sullivan was only with the program for two years, but she quickly helped elevate the level of play for the Lady Bisons.

"It's hard to lose the likes of Sam who came in from a junior college and was asked to take a leadership role as setter for this team," Rosenthal said. "That was something that we had lacked for a couple of years.

"She stepped in and brought our program along to the level it needed to be. I give a lot of credit to Sam for what she has done."

Rutherford and Johnson have experienced the growing pains of the program, but were also around long enough to taste of success.

"It's hard to lose Lindsey and Catherine," Rosenthal said. "They are exactly what this team is all about. They have endured the longer seasons. I can't say enough about those two as well as Sam as to who we are.

"Obviously, it is a lot about volleyball, but more than that it is about what happens off the court and who they are off the court as students. And even more than that it is about who they are in the community and those are three of the best."

Alex Scruggs and Rutherford each had nine kills to lead the Lady Bisons. Ann Mullins made a match-high 18 digs. Samantha Sullivan added 12 digs.

Four Belmont players finished in double figures in kills. Katie Tobiasz had a game-high 12 followed by Jaye Schuler and Cat Mundy with 11 each and Erin Janson with 10,

Ashley Collier led Belmont with 17 digs. Janson chipped in with 13 to get a double-double.

Belmont's record is 23-6. They will play Jacksonville, an upset winner over No. 1-seeded ETSU, Saturday afternoon at 1.

Rosenthal is already planning for his third straight return to the A-Sun Tournament next season.

"It was a great experience for us to be in the tournament again," Rosenthal said. "This young program is going to see a lot more success in the future.

"For a team to go 3-0 to start the season, then lose 11 straight, and come back to make the tournament makes it a great year."