Following Pease’s lead the Lady Bisons swept Belmont 3-0 at the Curb Center in the first round of volleyball’s version of the “Battle of the Boulevard” Tuesday night. It was the first time in the history of the program that the Lady Bisons have beaten the Bruins on their home court.
The Lady Bisons won the first set 25-15, took set two 25-21 and then close out the match with a 25-14 win.
It was the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for both teams and was billed as the A-Sun “Match of the Week” by the conference. The Lady Bisons are the preseason pick to finish No. 1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Belmont was selected No. 2.
“We wanted to send a message,” said Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal. “The whole conference was watching this score.
“This was all about what we know we can do. We wanted to set the tone for our season. These are two good teams. It was all about the execution of the little things. “
The last time the two teams met was Nov. 22 in the final of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. Belmont won the match 3-0 and also held a 2-2 advantage in the series between the two teams. Belmont has won six-of-the eight series with the Lady Bisons.
The Lady Bisons also sent a pregame message to themselves. Posted in their dressing room was the saying, “We are one team together”.
“A lot teams have talented players, but they have to learn to play together,” said Rosenthal. “We did that against Belmont.”
Pease was credited with 33 assists, eight digs and one service ace. “Jake played a phenomenal game,” said Rosenthal. “She made the absolute perfect decisions.
“We tell her to take what is given to her. She has to trust her teammates to make the plays. Every time she got the ball to the outside we got a kill. When those things happen it builds confidence for the entire team.”
Rosenthal also had strong words of praise for sophomore Katie Rose who has made the transition from outside hitter to libero. With each match she appears to be more comfortable and confident in her new role. She finished with a team-high and a personal season-high 17 digs.
“Katie is working so hard,” said Rosenthal. “The more confident she gets the better she is going to be.”
Also chipping in defensively were senior opposite Erin Pierce with 14 and junior middle hitter Alex Kelly with 12.
“We knew we had the offensive firepower, but when we looked at this match we knew we had to go out and do things defensively,” said Rosenthal.
Hinemeyer and freshman outside hitter Kaycee Green, who made nine kills, took over the offense with Kelly drawing much of Belmont’s attention. She was held to a season low six kills.
“Meghan and Kaycee stepped up,” said Rosenthal. “Belmont was putting a lot of pressure on Alex."
The Lady Bisons play their first matches at home at Allen Arena this weekend against a pair of conference opponents. North Florida visits Friday night at 6:30. The Lady Bisons will face Jacksonville Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Lady Bisons are 4-3 overall, 1-0 in the A-Sun. Belmont is 2-7, 0-1 in the conference.
More than 700 fans were at the Curb Center for the match. Rosenthal is hopeful of big crowds this weekend.
“This was the first time for many of our fans to see us play in person,” said Rosenthal. “With our games at home this weekend we need to draw a big crowd.”