NASHVILLE, Tenn.-When Kaycee Green spreads her arms out wide the width is almost equal to her height.
Knowing that Green, an outside hitter, stands 6-foot-1 gives you some idea of the reach she has on the volleyball court.
Friday at 5 p.m., Green will play in her fourth, and last, Atlantic Sun Tournament. In the previous three years, she has been a member of the tournament championship team.
She would like to add a fourth title to the list this weekend. The Lady Bisons (18-11, 15-3 in the A-Sun), the No. 2 seed, will face ETSU, 21-12 overall, 11-7 in the A-Sun semifinals at Allen Arena.
“This girl has been a part of three championship teams, and beyond that she has taken her game to another level,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “I think she has proven herself this year.”
ETSU, led by A-Sun Player of the Year Megan Devine, with a match-high 14 kills, swept No. 6-seeded Mercer 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-19) Thursday night in the quarterfinals.
The Lady Bisons won both matches this season with ETSU, winning 3-1 in Johnson City Oct. 6 and 3-0 at Allen Arena Oct. 26 with all three sets ending in 25-23 scores.
Green, an All-Atlantic Sun Second Team selection this season, is the lone senior for the Lady Bisons. She has found her role as the oldest player on the team to be both challenging and fulfilling.
Rosenthal admits he is most proud of Green’s maturity as a person and a player.
Rosenthal credits Green’s attitude as one of the things that makes her a special player. It served her well, especially in her freshman year. Known for her competitiveness she was often tested when she began her college career.
“There were a lot of personalities on that team and she was able to jump on the court and hold her own,” Rosenthal said. “Kaycee and Alex Kelly would challenge each other on the court all of the time. That was fun.
“At that time we wanted more of an edge. Alex would push Kaycee’s buttons. I don’t know how healthy it was, but at times it was what we wanted. We wanted competiveness, but not just with other teams. We want fiery competitiveness with each other.”
Having played for Rosenthal since she was a 17-year-old in club volleyball, Green’s competitive nature hasn’t always translated into a harmonious coach-player relationship.
“Sometimes Kaycee put up this wall and been somewhat defensive at times,” Rosenthal said. “I think our relationship has grown a lot this year. I can give her information and it is a good conversation back-and-forth rather than just an O.K.
“It is very much more a matter of working together. A lot of times people think they know it all, but Kaycee decided she had to learn and I am proud of her for that.”
Both parties knew what to expect from each other.
Rosenthal stressed that Green responded to the fact that the team needed her and she realized what the team needed from her.
Green is one of four Lady Bisons named to the Atlantic Sun Conference Second-Team. She enters the tournament with a team-leading 393 kills (3.93 per set, second in the A-Sun) and 272 kills in conference matches (4.25 per set), first in the conference. Green does not play all six rotations which affects her statistics to some extent.
Green’s physical dimensions help to make her a special player on the court.
“She jumps fairly well, but her length creates some angles that other people can’t create and she creates some shots that nobody else could make,” Rosenthal said. “She puts a lot of pressure on the other team.
“There have been times throughout these four years where she will make a shot and we will say, `only her’. For us it was how do we take that advantage we have and put a little more drive into her. She had a tendency to get frustrated in herself and internalize things.”
Rosenthal stresses that Green’s experiences as a volleyball player go beyond the statistical pages.
“Kaycee has been in three NCAA Tournaments,” Rosenthal said. “She has been a part of two undefeated seasons in the conference. From her freshman year she has been thrown into pressure in every match.
“I can’t imagine there is a whole lot that Kaycee has not seen or experienced in volleyball. The staggering number to me is we have only lost five conference matches during her four years here and three of those have been this season. She is at the point right now where I wish I had four more years to work with her.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.