Sept. 5, 2005
When Coach Brandon Rosenthal and his Lady Bisons look back on this season they will count Samford as the match that got away.
Saturday morning, after playing Alabama-Birmingham the night before, the Lady Bisons struck hard early, but fell 3-2 to Samford at Seibert Hall in Birmingham.
"We had the opportunity to win, but we came up a little short," Rosenthal said. "It was a hard-fought battle by both teams.
The Lady Bisons took the opening game 30-25, but fell 30-22 in game two.
"We hit .421 in that game," Rosenthal said. "We jumped out to a quick start. The second game didn't go as well for us."
Game three was a nail-biter as the Lady Bisons prevailed 33-31.
"We started that game down 8-1," Rosenthal said. "We were down by as many as eight points a couple of times."
Games four and five went to Samford by scores of 30-20 and 15-10.
"Those were just a matter of a couple of points either way," Rosenthal said.
Alex Scruggs had outstanding numbers in the match for the Lady Bisons, posting a season-high 14 kills and a season-high .435 hitting percentage. She also added a season-high six service aces.
Samantha Sullivan also set a season-high with a .429 hitting percentage. She added four service aces, also a personal season-high. Rosenthal has cited the improved serving of the team which finished with a match-high and season-high 19 service aces.
Grace Gilmore had five service aces, including four in the first game of the match. Ten of the Lady Bisons service aces were recorded in game one.
"Samantha is really improving," Rosenthal said. "She is setting the ball well."
Defensively, libero Ann Mullins continued to set the pace with a team-leading seven digs.
Samford out-hit the Lady Bisons .220 to .113 in the match. It was the first time this season that the Lady Bisons, 0-4, have forced a five-game match.
The Lady Bisons travel to Oxford, Miss., this Friday and Saturday for the Magnolia Invitational at the University of Mississippi. Other teams in that tournament include No.11-ranked Texas, North Carolina State, Lamar, Ole Miss and Tennessee-Martin.