Nov. 28, 2007
In football a freshman quarterback is often a liability. In basketball coaches often say the best thing about a freshman point guard is that they one day become sophomores.
In the case of the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team a freshman has set the pace this season helping them earn their first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament. Stefine "Jake' Pease, from Berryton, Kansas, is the setter for the Lady Bisons, which is the equivalent of being a quarterback or point guard in those other sports.
Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal never doubted Pease could run the team. When he first watched her play he saw a player that might have been short in stature compared with most volleyball players, but he also saw a player with surprising strength.
"From the very first moment I saw her I knew she was a player we could build this program around," Rosenthal said. `I never had a doubt about her. We talk a lot about what a good player she is, but she is a better person."
Pease was named Atlantic Sun Freshman of the Year. She followed that up by being named Atlantic Sun Tournament MVP as the Lady Bisons won over Mercer, top-seeded Belmont and Jacksonville.
Not surprisingly, Pease, the A-Sun leader in assists, down plays her role with the Lady Bisons.
"I just came here to play volleyball," Pease said. `I don't think I have made that big of a difference. All of the girls working together made it happen more than one person."
The Lady Bisons, 20-11, left for Dayton, Ohio Wednesday afternoon. They practice tonight at the Frericks Center. Game time for the first round match with Dayton, 32-1 and the Atlantic 10 Conference champion, is at 6:30 CT. Kentucky and Michigan State will play in the first match.
Video streaming of the games is available by clicking on this link, NCAA Videostreaming
Rosenthal is quick to point out that most of the time Pease is calling the shots on the court.
"It's her game," Rosenthal said. "She is the one who has to react to it. I'll offer suggestions during a time out. Sometimes we will have a play we want to run at a certain time and I will tell her what to call. But 99.9 percent of the time it is all Jake."
As far as the setter position was concerned it was all about Pease. She played most of the season without a back-up.
Former Lipscomb setter Samantha Sullivan often worked with Pease. They had a common bond since both of them were told as high school and club players that they would not be good enough to play for an NCAA Division I team.
"Jake has a lot of will and a lot of drive," Sullivan said. "She is very motivated to play. She drives me to play harder and I'm not on the team any more."
Sullivan also stresses that Pease is a very easy player to coach.
"That's hard to find in a player," Sullivan said. "She wants to do well. She wants to learn. She really enjoys the game."
Sullivan was an emotional and vocal setter for two seasons for the Lady Bisons. Pease is a calmer, quieter leader.
"Jake is a very calm setter," Sullivan said. "She is quieter and that is a very good thing.
"There is a lot on your shoulders as a setter. It's her team. She controls the game. It has been interesting to see how much she has grown as a player this season. She has all of the right tools. She has done a good job."