In NCAA Division I through games of Sept. 20, the Lady Bisons as a team are averaging 13.54 assists per set, sixth best in the nation; 14.54 kills per set; seventh best; and 26th in digs per set, 16.71.
“We have played some really quality teams and we are almost halfway through the first round of conference play so I think the records say a lot,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “We have always been fairly strong in digs, but in the other categories we haven’t been that close.
“The biggest thing when you look at the digs per set is that it is a team effort. It is seven here and 10 there. That is the most impressive thing for us. At one point we had Erin Pierce, Katie Rose and Alex Kelly in the top 10 in the conference in digs and that is impressive.”
This week in the conference Kelly is ranked eighth overall in digs and Pierce is 10th.
Rosenthal stressed that is not easy for a team to be in the top 10 in both kills and assists, especially since nine of the Lady Bisons matches have been decided in three sets with two losses and seven wins.
“We really haven’t had a ton of attempts because we have played so many three-set matches,” said Rosenthal. “What we are doing is that we are terminating a high percentage of balls in each match.”
Individually junior setter Stefine “Jake” Pease is eighth in the nation in assists per set with 11.71. Junior middle hitter Alex Kelly is 12th in the nation in kills per set with 4.49.
“You would want your top two players to be a setter and a hitter,” said Rosenthal. “One thing that gets overlooked a lot is that middles don’t usually have the number of kills that Alex has. A good number for a middle blocker or middle hitter is 12 kills in a match and Alex is averaging 17 to 22 in most matches.
“That is a team effort with it all coming together between a setter and a middle hitter. It’s great to have two players rated so high.”
Pease has passed the 3,000 assists mark. She has 3,037 heading into this weekend’s matches with Mercer Friday night and Kennesaw State Saturday afternoon. The starting time for the Mercer match is 6:30. The Kennesaw State match begins at 2.
Emily Smith is the all-time assists leader for the Lady Bisons with 3,501.
Kelly enters the weekend with 997 kills. Kristin Peck is the program’s all-time kills leader with 1,374.
“Jake and Alex and the rest of the team will find this interesting, but they could care less about it,” said Rosenthal. “This group is very focused. They are very determined to prove themselves.”
Rich Kern.com, a popular volleyball site, has the Lady Bisons ranked 48th in its “Pablo” poll and 94th in the regular poll.