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Saturday, November 08, 2008The Lady Bisons closed out their last road trip of the regular season on a winning note with a 3-0 sweep of ETSU in an Atlantic Sun volleyball match Saturday afternoon at Brooks Gym in Johnson City.
The Lady Bisons won set one 25-21, set two 25-17 and set three 25-11. It was the 18th regular season win for the Lady Bisons, beating the old mark of 17 set last season. The Lady Bisons won 20 matches overall last season, but that included three wins in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.
“It feels good to reach 18 regular season wins,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “It has been a much tougher season for us. We don’t really discuss it with the players, but a goal of mine is to have a better year record-wise than the year before. That is important for us recruiting-wise.
“It is a great indication of the program as a whole. The NCAA Tournament and the A-Sun Championship are great, but to look at the body of work and see improvement every year is something I am really proud of.
Rosenthal called the sweep a true team win.
“It was a great team performance,” said Rosenthal. “We talk all the time about doing the small things. We did a lot of small things well. It wasn’t just one person. It was the whole team.
“The impressive thing for me was that we only made nine errors. When you limit yourself to nine errors over three sets some good things are going to happen. We talked about not giving teams extra chances. I thought we did a great job on defense. We were solid all the way through.”
He stressed that the Lady Bisons took allowed setter Jake Pease to operate at an even higher level. She made 31 assists and also had a match-high 10 digs.
“The philosophy was to take care of the ball and get it right to the setter to give her the options of where she wanted to set it,” said Rosenthal. “A lot of time when you make a pass it is off of the net and that limits the options for the setter.
“Jake can set 90 percent of the balls because she is so athletic. We have a luxury in that. But if we give her time, and more of an opportunity to make decisions, then the other part of her game is that she is very deceptive when she makes her reads.”
Middle blocker Alex Kelly made 14 kills, also a match high. Her .571hitting percentage tied her season high set Aug. 30 against Morehead State. It was the sixth time this season she has posted a hitting percentage of .500 or higher and her second match in row to do it.
Rosenthal also praised the play of outside hitter Katie Bradley, middle blocker Amy Trykowski and opposite Erin Pierce.
“When you have a match performance like this everyone usually thinks it is because of one person,” said Rosenthal. “But it really wasn’t. You can go down the line and talk about each player and what they did right. There wasn’t a whole lot that we didn’t execute on.”
Desiree Dyck had 10 kills for ETSU. No ETSU player reached double figures in digs.
“ETSU is a tough place to play,” said Rosenthal. “They brought a lot of energy. They had a good crowd.”
It was an expectant trip in another way for Rosenthal. His wife, Kate is due to deliver their second child at any minute. Rosenthal drove separately on the trip and someone monitored his cell phone during both matches this weekend.
The Lady Bisons are 18-10 overall, 15-3 in the A-Sun. ETSU is 9-19, 5-13 in the conference.