Nov. 30, 2007
We are here. We believe. And we belong.
Those are the sentiments of the Lipscomb Lady Bisons who will make their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the first round Friday night at 6 p.m. CT.
"We believe in one another, but we also believe in the fact that we do belong here," said Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal. "We have talked about being the first volleyball team to play in the NCAA Tournament from Lipscomb.
"We have talked about this a lot. Nerves will kind of be there at the beginning of the match. We just need to go out and play. We are ready."
Thursday was a day of adjustment for the Lady Bisons. They ate lunch together, went to a matinee at near-by theater, watched video of Dayton in action and closed out the day with a two-hour practice session at the Frericks Center.
The Lady Bisons, the Atlantic Sun Tournament Champion with a 20-11 record, will hold a closed practice Friday before facing host Dayton, the Atlantic 10 Champion with a 32-1 record. The game can be seen on video streaming by clicking here, NCAA First Round
"It hit me Thursday morning when I woke up," said Rosenthal. "It feels unbelievable. It felt great to be with the players all day and kind of relax and soak it all in.
"I thought it was a good practice. At first, there is the realization that we are really here and this is what it is all about. This is a new gym for us. But I really like the way we finished practice. It was real spirited and competitive. That's what we want."
Dayton will be playing in front of its home crowd. A sellout of 2,400 is expected. Kentucky and Michigan State play in the first game of the evening.
Rosenthal expects a tough match with Dayton, a team that holds a height edge on the Lady Bisons.
"I think the atmosphere is going to be electric," Rosenthal said. "They do a great job of getting people here.
"Dayton doesn't make a lot of mistakes and we know that. If we can control our emotions in the beginning and play our game we will be happy."
The game is going to be played on a Sport Court surface. Most of the Lady Bisons have played on the surface in club tournaments.
"You could make a point of it, but I don't think it is very valid how much different it is," Rosenthal said. "It has a little more cushion and a little more spring than a hard court."
The Lady Bisons have won four games in a row and six of their last seven.
They are one of six teams making their first NCAA appearance. The others are Tennessee State, Cleveland State, South Dakota State, Delaware and Nevada-Las Vegas.