Nov. 4, 2006
The Lady Bisons celebrated Senior Night, but couldn't give the three departing seniors a win in their final home match at Allen Arena.
The Lady Bisons, headed into the Atlantic Sun Tournament as the No. 3 seed, fell 3-0 to North Florida Saturday night. The Lady Bisons lost 30-19, 30-28 and 30-26.
"Our three conference losses are very similar as to why I think we lost," Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. "It comes down to playing good teams with the utmost effort the whole game. I didn't think we played bad, but against a team like UNF, a team like ETSU or a team like Belmont we have to be able to play the whole match. I thought we did some good stuff, but ultimately effort is what got us. We have to be able to use this as a learning experience."
The Lady Bisons are 13-15 overall, 6-3 in the A-Sun. North Florida, which is not eligible for the conference tournament, raised its record to 16-15, 7-2 in the conference.
"We knew they were going to be athletic," Rosenthal said. "They are great defensive team. They were good."
Rutherford also had three service aces.
Amy Stroder led North Florida with 15 kills. Tara Taylor made a match-high 29 digs.
The Lady Bisons were playing their second match in as many nights, winning 3-2 Friday night over Jacksonville. It was also their third 3-2 match in row.
"I think we were tired mentally, more than physically," Rosenthal said. "It is disappointing and a little bit frustrating, but it is not the end of the world.
"We only play every team in the conference once. You have only nine opportunities to rise to the occasion."
Rutherford, from Hendersonville, Tenn., is a four-year starter and a three-year captain. She is one of the most decorated players in the history of the program.
She is only the second player in school history to break both the 1,000 kill and 1,000 dig marks. She has played in 425 games, 1,062 kills, 1,014 digs, 149 blocks, 106 service aces and 200 assists.
She was escorted by her parents, Jane and David Rutherford.
"I am honored to have coached a player and person like Lindsey," Rosenthal said. "She has been a true leader of this team over the past four years.
"Lindsey is everything that his university and this team stands for. It is hard to believe that this is her last home match. She will be missed."
Johnson, from Old Hickory, Tenn., was escorted by her parents, Harriet and Carl. She has played in 281 games and recorded 273 kills, 159 blocks and a .165 hitting percentage.
"Catherine's determination and hard work earned her a starting position over the past two years," Rosenthal said. "She too was a big part of last year's Atlantic Sun Tournament run.
"Catherine is going to be a tough player to replace. She is one of the hardest workers day in and day out and is the ultimate team player. Catherine is a true gem of a person. People gravitate to her personality. She will be truly missed on and off the court."
Sullivan, from Simi Valley, Calif., was escorted by her parents, Sherry and Doug Sullivan.
Sullivan transferred to Lipscomb from Los Angeles Pierce College and immediately had an impact on the team, helping lead the Lady Bisons to their first Atlantic Sun Tournament appearance.
"Over a two-year span Sam has cemented herself in the history of the program," Rosenthal said. "Sam has amassed some very impressive stats over a short period of time."
Sullivan has 2,084 assists, averaging a school record 10.42 per game. She also has 304 digs, 58 service aces 78 kills and 36 blocks.
"Sam has done an unbelievable job for this team over the past two years," Rosenthal said. "Sam continues to lead this team and bring a one of a kind flair for the game.
"I am extremely proud of Sam for all that she has done on the court, but more importantly for the person she has become off of the court. Sam is a true competitor and will be dearly missed next year."
The conference has announced the seeds for the tournament. Gardner-Webb clinched the fifth seed after coming back from 2-0 deficit against Campbell Saturday. Despite a 3-1 loss to Stetson, Mercer won the three-way tie with Campbell and Stetson to clinch the fifth spot. The 2006 Tournament will be hosted once again by Belmont, Nov. 17-18 at the Curb Event Center. ETSU is the No. 1 seed. Host Belmont is No. 2. Jacksonville rounds out the field as the fourth seed.
The Lady Bisons will play Mercer in the first round with the winner advancing to play Belmont.