Rosenthal impressed with newcomers to volleyball team
Thursday, August 16, 2007

Aug. 16, 2007

More often than not reality seldom equals or surpasses expectations.

Such has not been the case, however, for Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal. He ranked his incoming freshmen class as the best he has ever assembled. Based on early practice sessions his assumption is proving to be correct.

Outside hitter Katie Bradley, middle blocker Alex Kelly, setter Stefine Pease and defensive specialist-libero Brittany Simmons have wasted no time making an impact on the team.

"The freshmen have been better than my expectations," Rosenthal said. "We knew they were going to come in and compete from the start. There hasn't been an instant when they have let me down.

"We have to change some things with them and there is a learning curve. But I have been very impressed with the intensity. From the very first whistle they were ready to go."

Rosenthal is also impressed with outside Sarah Snider, a transfer from the University of Alabama, who is expected to be one of the top performers this season. She will be a junior this season.

"I am not only impressed with their performances, but I am impressed with their integration into the team," Rosenthal said. "When your players come together as a team for the first time you wonder how long is it going to take for them to jell together. They have done a great job of doing that.

"Everybody on the team is a piece of the puzzle. They have to all step up."

Rosenthal thinks that Snider has adapted to being part of a new program.

"Sarah realizes she is going to have to be a pretty big member of this team, not that she wasn't at Alabama," Rosenthal said. "She has quietly come in and really carefully observed what we are doing."

The enthusiasm of the team is evident as two-a-day practices continue. Rosenthal says he has been "pleasantly surprised" at the upbeat level of the sessions.

"It has been a lot of fun in practice," Rosenthal said. "These players know what is at stake this season. They came in ready to go. I am very impressed with the overall group."

The Lady Bisons open their season Aug. 25 at Allen Arena in the Music-Magic Invite which also includes Belmont, Alabama-Birmingham and Birmingham Southern.