Saturday, July 02, 2011
MACON, Ga. – In the last two seasons of Atlantic Sun Volleyball, Lipscomb has been the tale of the tape with a 30-0 record in conference play as well as four wins en route to its two A-Sun Championship titles. The 34 consecutive wins against conference opponents is the longest in the nation as the Lady Bisons have dropped only 13 sets and recorded clean sweeps on 24 occasions.
However, if the rest of the conference has anything to say then Lipscomb won’t be on the top for much longer.
Kennesaw State, the A-Sun Championship two-seed, finished the conference season with a 9-1 record – the lone blemish coming against Lipscomb – and once again reached the 17-win plateau for the second-straight season. Since joining the conference before the 2006 season, the Owls’ volleyball program has improved by leaps and bounds. In its first season in A-Sun play, Kennesaw State failed to win a league match and claimed only one victory overall, but since that season the Owls have increased their winning percentage and standing in the league each year.
After failing to reach the 2009 A-Sun Championship, ETSU and Mercer both returned to the postseason tournament in 2010. The Lady Bucs, who won at least seven conference matches in each of the past five seasons, claimed two victories at the A-Sun Championship to set up a championship showdown with the Lady Bisons.
Making the program’s first A-Sun Championship Final appearance, ETSU wasn’t intimidated by the defending champions, taking the first two sets before eventually falling victim to a Lipscomb rally. By winning two sets against Lipscomb, ETSU netted its second five-set match against the Lady Bisons – something only one other conference team (FGCU) has accomplished over the last two seasons.
The five seed in the A-Sun Championship, Mercer finished the year with a 6-4 conference mark and 14 wins overall. Over the past three years, Mercer has accumulated 43 wins, which marks the largest three-year win total for the Bears since 1995-97. UNF and Belmont joined the previously mentioned in the A-Sun Championship with the Ospreys making their first-ever appearance.
In order to overthrow Lipscomb as the top dog in A-Sun Volleyball, the rest of the A-Sun will have to accomplish it on the Lady Bisons home court, Allen Arena, where LU has an 18-match winning streak in A-Sun competition and has dropped only three sets since the end of the 2008 season. With Allen Arena serving as the host facility for the 2011 and 2012 A-Sun Championships that feat becomes even tougher for the rest of the Atlantic Sun.
In the classroom, 69.1 percent of the 152 A-Sun Volleyball Student-Athletes achieved All-Academic honors with Mercer leading the way with 14 on the list. Five of the 11 teams had at least 75 percent of their student-athletes make the all-academic team; Mercer (92.3), Belmont (92.3), USC Upstate (90.0), Lipscomb (80.0) and Jacksonville (78.6).
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