Five years ago coach Brandon Rosenthal and his Lipscomb Lady Bisons would have been elated with a 3-0 match win over an opponent.
Friday night at Allen Arena the Lady Bisons swept Mercer 3-0 to extend their home winning streak to 21 matches and their Atlantic Sun Conference regular season win streak to 26 straight matches.
But Rosenthal found little to be happy about.
“We won it, but it wasn’t pretty,” Rosenthal said. “We talk about never getting too high or too low.
“It’s one of those things where you scratch your head and wonder what happened. I probably get a little too emotional about it. It is hard for me because I don’t want to go backwards. I don’t want to be sitting in the locker room asking ‘what if’?”
The Lady Bisons won set one 25-16, set two 25-20 and set three 25-22. It was the A-Sun opener for both teams. The Lady Bisons are 12-5, 1-0 in the conference. Mercer is 6-13, 0-1 in the A-Sun.
Rosenthal, a self-admitted Type A personality, admits he doesn’t want to lose. He doesn’t know how much his players share his fear.
“That fear of losing is good,” Rosenthal said. “It keeps me hungry.
“I don’t know what happens to my players if they really get pushed. Mercer pushed us, but I never felt like we were out of control of the match. In the third set they had it within one point. “
Rosenthal has not addressed the streaks with his team.
“If we prepare ourselves all that stuff takes care of itself,” Rosenthal said. “Execution of plays is crucial. Trying is not what I am looking for. We have a lot of people who want to go out there and try, but it is a matter of going out there and doing.
“We want to get them to at least be thinking about what they need to do and reflect about how to get better. These girls know how to play. They don’t need me to tell them how to play. I am looking for them to bring that drive and motivation on their own.”
Middle blocker Alex Kelly made a match-high 12 kills, the only player on either team to finish in double figures in that category. She missed a double-double by finishing with nine digs. Middle blocker Katie Rose also was close to a double-double with nine kills and a team-high 12 digs.
Mercer’s Charlotte Harris was credited with a match-high 20 digs.
The Lady Bisons are back in action Saturday afternoon at Allen Arena at 2 when Kennesaw State, 8-8, visits. Kennesaw State won 3-2 at Belmont Friday night, rallying from a two-set deficit to open the match.
“If we play like we did against Mercer we are going to be in trouble against Kennesaw State,” Rosenthal said. “Their outside hitter, Sabrita Gulley, is one of the top hitters in the conference. Their right side is a pretty solid player. Their setter does a nice job.
“What it comes down to is playing our game. I need to do a better job of managing that. I need to be more positive. It is not win or lose, but it is a matter for every girl on the team playing to her capabilities.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.