With the 2011 season starting later this month, the Atlantic Sun volleyball coaches have made their preseason selections and the Lipscomb Lady Bisons have been chosen to defend their back-to-back conference titles. Senior middle blocker Katie Rose has also been selected to the league’s preseason All-Atlantic Sun team as one of the top players in the conference.
"We are very excited about the 2011 season and for the rest of the coaches to recognize us preseason No. 1 is a great honor, but thats is where it ends,” remarked Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal. “We know that being preseason No. 1 and winning a championship are two different things. So we will continue to have to work harder than we have ever done before, because as we have witnessed it is a long season and we will face some great competition from our A-Sun opponents.”
The voting was close among the A-Sun coaches with the Lady Bisons collecting 85 points in the poll and three first-place votes just edging out Kennesaw State, who received 79 total points and two first-place votes. Belmont finished third in the poll just behind the Owls with 77 points and one first-place nod. Florida Gulf Coast and East Tennessee State rounded out the top five in the league rankings.
"I believe that our girls are fully aware that with winning the past couple of championships comes a little extra pressure knowing that we are going to get everyone's best efforts in any given match,” noted Rosenthal. “But in the end we try to simplify things into things we can control. So while there is undoubtedly some extra pressure, we will continue to focus on the task at hand (the current match) and play to win."
Rose was joined on the preseason All-Atlantic Sun team by Belmont’s Maggie Johnson, who was also named preseason Player of the Year, North Florida’s Paige Pridgeon , ETSU’s Megan Devine, FGCU’s Jelena Simic, KSU’s Alyssa Lang. Also named to the team were preseason Libero of the Year Holly Youngquist of FGCU and Charlotte Harris from Mercer.
"I couldn't be more excited for Katie” remarked Rosenthal. “She is a very special player that for the past three years has always put the team first and it is nice to see her recognized. Day in and day out Katie ALWAYS gives her best effort. As one of the team captains for the 2011 season it is easy to see why Katie has been such a positive influence on this program. Over the past three seasons this program has done some amazing things and it is no coincidence that Katie has been in the middle of it. I think it is a great honor for Katie, especially entering her senior year and I can't wait to see what she and the team have in store for the 2011 season."
Lipscomb was also picked as the favorite to win the 2011 A-Sun Tournament that will be hosted on campus at Allen Arena Nov. 17-19.
The Lady Bisons open the 2011 campaign on August 26th in Houston, Texas at the Flo Hyman Collegiate Cup hosted by the University of Houston. Lipscomb opens action at home on Sept. 2nd at Allen Arena against Tennessee Tech and Charlotte in the Lipscomb Invitational.