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Competition level is high in early volleyball sessions
Jake Pease
Jake Pease

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It is often the fear of coaches that teams that have won championships often lack the drive to repeat.

Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal doesn’t have to worry about that problem with his team that won both the Atlantic Sun regular season championship with a 22-0 record and the conference tournament championship in 2009.

If the first few days of practice are any indication competitiveness has beaten complacency senseless.

“The first impression is how competitive practices are going to be,” Rosenthal said. “We say that every year, but we played a game in practice and both sides really wanted to win. Both sides clawed it out.

“I know it is still very early, but overall I am real happy. I’m not one of those guys who are going to sandbag the whole team. I would think this is what most people would expect from this team.”

Rosenthal has welcomed back an experienced team with most of the major players returning from last season including A-Sun Tournament Most Valuable Player Stefine “Jake” Pease and two-time Atlantic Sun Player of the Year Alex Kelly. Four freshmen and one transfer have been added to the lineup.

“I have to catch myself sometimes when we jump from drill to drill,” Rosenthal said. “With the new players we have to slow down a little bit.

“The way I go about practice is to give them enough to work with. But I also want them to figure things out. I don’t want to have to explain too much.”

Rosenthal likes what he is seeing from his newcomers, but he waiting a few more days before evaluating them.

“It is nice to see how they interact with the rest of the team, how they take criticism and how they take getting pushed,” Rosenthal said. “I can see us learning. I can see us getting to know each other.”

Practice has not been an entirely new experience for the newcomes. The seniors decided that it was time for the players to get together this summer and work out on their own as a team in late July before the official start of practice.

A goal each season for Rosenthal is to show improvement each season though it will be difficult to improve on last season’s success.

“The X –factor for us will be our leadership,” Rosenthal said. “From what I have seen so far I like what our leaders are doing. They are explaining things to the freshmen and getting them to understand how practice is run and how to run the drills.

“We are taking on a new identity. We still have a lot of the same pieces, but it is a new year. There is a going to be a lot of pressure. We know that and we have talked about that. It will be fun to see how we respond.”