Spring is a time of renewal, but for the Lipscomb Lady Bison volleyball team it is a season of refinement.
Coach Brandon Rosenthal has been overseeing workouts with new assistant coach Jeff Wismer and assistant Jake Pease. The number of players is limited due to injuries and players graduating, but Rosenthal and his staff are finding ways to get things done as they prepare for a run for their fourth Atlantic Sun Championship in a row.
The first test for the team is Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. when Austin Peay visits Allen Arena.
“The girls have really been tested physically and mentally,” Rosenthal said.
He has not allowed the injured players to fade into the background.
“What we have wanted them to understand is that they are just as much a part of this team and just because they are injured doesn’t mean they can’t work hard.
“When they come to practice they have to be ready to go. We have done some things to challenge them within the scope of what they are able to do. I think it has been good.”
Rosenthal likes the talent that is returning from this past season and he has high expectations for the newcomers to the team.
“We have a lot of talented players,” Rosenthal said. “Right now, it is really about finding that voice and finding that common ground that we can push forward on. It is exciting and it is challenging, but ultimately it has been fun.”
Last season’s freshmen class was outstanding with middle blocker Jewell Dobson and outside hitter Lauren Ford both earning unanimous selections to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team.
“Jewell and Lauren come to mind first for most people,” Rosenthal. “They were good last season, but the idea that we have is that they have to be better. They have really jumped at that opportunity.”
Defensive specialist/libero Megan Stout was also a freshman last year, playing in every match.
“I really like her as a player, but the tough part about Megan is that we have had to go back and tweak some things and break some old habits,” Rosenthal said. “Megan is a very driven person.”
Rosenthal is also counting on setter/opposite Jordan Huston and outside hitter Sophie Kellerman to be factors this season from last year’s freshman class.
“Sophie had an injury most of the season so we are kind of getting that first chance to really work with her,” Rosenthal said. “Sophie is one of those players who works hard every day and brings a tremendous amount of energy.
“She is really going to do some great stuff for us. For her it is learning how to win … how to really, really get dirty and compete.”
Huston is also making a rebound from injuries. Rosenthal wants to set a base with her that she can build on during the summer in her individual workouts at home.
This spring the Lady Bison have been practicing without a regular setter. Caitlin Dobson is recovering from an injury. Abby Fay, who played the position last season for Lipscomb, and Pease have filled in as needed.
“Not having a setter is not ideal,” Rosenthal said. Abby has been gracious to come back and work with us on a daily basis. We are fortunate to have Jake as well.
“Spring is what you make of it. If you are going to sit around and complain then that is the motto your team is going to take on. But we are challenging them. We have told them these are the cards we have been dealt and we are going to go with them.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.