The Lady Bisons open play Friday at 4:30 against Kansas at the D.J. Sokol Arena in Omaha, Neb. They will play Creighton, from the Missouri Valley Conference, at noon Saturday followed by San Francisco, from the West Coast Conference, at 5:30.
Last season the Lady Bisons lost 3-1 to Kansas and beat Creighton 3-1. Both matches were played in the Jayhawks Invitational hosted by Kansas. The Lady Bisons have never played San Francisco.
“It is going to be a tough tournament,” Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “Are we ready for this next level? Yes, we are.”
Kansas, a Big 12 team, has four starters returning from last season and nine letter winners. Their top offensive players are junior outside hitter Allison Mayfield and senior outside hitter Karina Garlington.
“Both of them had double digits and hit pretty high percentages against us last season,” Rosenthal said. “Karina had 20 kills and hit .349 and Allison had 14 kills and hit .344.
“They have a bunch of new people, but when you have two solid outsides like those two it is going to be really, really tough.”
The Lady Bisons counter with middle hitter Alex Kelly, the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year in both 2008 and 2009 and setter Stefine “Jake” Pease, the A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year.
Pease and senior outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer are both from Kansas. Kelly is from Kansas City, Mo.
“I like the fact that we are starting off against Kansas,” Rosenthal said. “Our girls have the Kansas connection and there is the fact that we lost to them.
“If you asked me which one of these teams I would want to play first I would probably say Kansas. It is definitely fresh on their minds. They got us last year. We want to even it up this year.
Rosenthal has stacked the preconference portion of the season with several top teams, but his goal is to increase recognition of the program on a national level.
“When we talk about giving ourselves a better shot at an at-large bid, or a better first round match-up in the NCAA Tournament, we have to play some of these other teams,” Rosenthal said. “They can talk about what they were up against when they are being called about things like regional rankings. That is a good thing for us.”
All matches will have free live stats. Visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Stats tab on the left-hand side of the page for links the exact link.
Live stats from the matches will also available on your mobile phone by clicking www.gocreighton.com .
All matches will be video webcast. To sign up, visit www.gocreighton.com and click on the Live Video tab on the left sidebar. A monthly subscription costs $10.95 per month.
Creighton’s match with Lipscomb will be streamed live free on-line at www.gocreighton.com . Then click on the Live Audio tab on the left sidebar.