Nov. 16, 2006
The Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team returns to the Atlantic Sun Tournament this year with a deeper understanding of what it means to be in postseason play.
Last year the Lady Bisons earned their first ever berth in the A-Sun Tournament, winning in the first round against Mercer before losing in the semifinals to eventual tournament champion Florida Atlantic.
"It is exciting," Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. "From last year at this time since we lost to Florida Atlantic our players have been thinking about getting back to this point
"Our approach is different. Last year we put so much time into preparing for Mercer that we weren't match-ready for Florida Atlantic. We are more tournament-ready in terms of all of the logistics."
This time around the No. 3-seeded Lady Bisons (13-16, 6-3) face Mercer 11-20, 2-7), the No. 6 seed, at 1:30 p.m. at the Curb Event Center on the Belmont campus. The winner advances to play No. 2-seed Belmont later that evening at 7.
"It comes down to approaching Mercer and being able to execute the way we should," Rosenthal said. "We have done our homework on Belmont. We will be ready if we get that opportunity."
The Lady Bisons have not played since losing at Tennessee Tech Nov. 7. Despite the long layoff, Rosenthal thinks his team is ready for the challenge.
"We have been able to rest a little bit," Rosenthal said. "We have had some good practices. We have been able to refocus and regroup. They have had to become selfish with their time,
"Our players are ready. There is no doubt. This is what we have been looking forward to doing. I like what we have done the past week to keep things fresh. The hard part has been playing the waiting game."
The Lady Bisons opened the Atlantic Sun portion of their season against Mercer, winning 3-1 in Macon, Ga., in a four-game match on Sept. 29..
"We had a better season this year and have a higher seed and we end up playing Mercer again," Rosenthal said. "We know Mercer well. I would imagine they know us well.
"We have to keep focused. We have to take care of our first round match. There is a budding rivalry between us."
Lindsey Rutherford, an All-A-Sun Conference performer for Lipscomb will be facing her sister, Kimberly, who wears a Mercer uniform. Mercer also features former David Lipscomb High School player Karen Dorris.