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Lady Bisons facing five NCAA Tournament teams in 2007

Friday, June 01, 2007

June 1, 2007

Don't let the lack of so-called big names fool you. The Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball schedule for 2007 is just as tough as past schedules have been.

For those wanting names the Lady Bisons will head west to Pepperdine University's tournament Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 where they will face Pepperdine, Arizona and Nevada-Reno.

Arizona and Pepperdine are two of five teams the Lady Bisons will face this season that went to the NCAA Tournament last year. The others are, Alabama-Birmingham (Aug. 25), Middle Tennessee State (Sept. 18) and Belmont .

"These are teams that have NCAA experience, even though they may not have the big names," Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. "Is it as strong a schedule as we have had in the past? From top to bottom it is."

IPFW, a top 75 program, is another tournament host the Lady Bisons will face Sept. 7 in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The Atlantic Sun Conference will welcome a pair if newcomers in Florida Gulf Coast and South Carolina-Upstate.

"Florida Gulf Coast played Jacksonville and North Florida in our conference last year and beat both of them on their home courts," Rosenthal said. "Everyone has a raised eyebrow on them.

"We have less information on Upstate. We have an idea that they are going to come in as a solid team, but where they fit in the conference we don't know yet."

The Lady Bisons open the season Aug. 25 at home against Samford and Alabama-Birmingham as part of the Magic-Music City Invitational at Allen Arena.

The Lady Bisons will play 13 matches at home this season, the most in the history of the program.

Other non-conference home matches are Tennessee Tech visits Sept. 4 followed by Evansville Sept. 11, Middle Tennessee State Sept. 18,, Tennessee State Sept. 25, Murray State Oct. 9, and Austin Peay Nov. 6.

Conference home matches are ETSU Sept. 28, USC-Upstate Sept. 29, Stetson Oct. 5, Florida Gulf Coast Oct. 7 and Kennesaw State Oct. 20.

Rosenthal expects Belmont and ETSU, both rated in the top 100 programs in the nation in preseason to be major challenges. North Florida and Jacksonville will also be tough foes as well in the conference.

Mercer is the most intense rivalry for the Lady Bisons in volleyball, having beaten them in the Atlantic Sun Tournament the past two years.

"If you are looking for a bitter rivalry for us in the conference it is probably Mercer," Rosenthal said,

The Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament will be held this season at Mercer in Macon, Ga., Nov. 15-17.