The Lady Bisons, 22-3 overall, are 17-0 in the conference. They have won their last 20 matches in a row. USC Upstate is 7-19, 3-13. Game time is 4 p.m. at the Hodge Center.
The Lady Bisons entered the week ranked 41st in the NCAA RPI.
“Upstate has a lot to play for,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “They are trying to better their record from the year prior and we are standing in the way of that.
“There is a little bit more freedom for them to go after it. They play in a smaller gym with a different atmosphere. It is senior night for them. They do some really nice things with their system. We will have to play very fundamental volleyball. Our girls know what is going on. We have to just trust them.”
The Lady Bisons have clinched the Atlantic Sun regular season championship. They will also be the top seed in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. But even though the Lady Bisons are racking up the honors don’t think they are in cruise control or in the mood to try any experiments.
“We are going to play this match the same way we have played all season,” said Rosenthal. “We are going to go out and put our best players out there and take care of business.”
Rosenthal has been pleasantly surprised by many players on the team, especially freshman outside hitter Kaycee Green and senior middle hitter Amy Trykowski.
“It’s not that we didn’t think Kaycee would continue to get better,” said Rosenthal. “It’s not that we didn’t think she would. It was a matter of how we thought she might respond to our pushing.
“Amy has been very steady. When you go up against seven really talented players you are going to have to work hard.”
Rosenthal also thinks that sophomore Katie Rose, making the transition to libero, has done “a phenomenal Job”.
Rosenthal viewed both Rose, and junior transfer outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer as question marks at the start of the season.
“Meghan was a question mark because she was new coming in and I think she has filled in really nicely,” said Rosenthal. “She puts a lot of pressure on teams.”
Rosenthal rates junior setter Stefine “Jake” Pease and junior middle hitter Alex Kelly, as the top two players in the conference. He also adds kudos senior opposite Erin Pierce.
“Erin continues to be that X-factor,” said Rosenthal.