So the opening match of the year is always one filled with surprises, both good and bad. Such was the case for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons who opened the 2010 season Friday night with a 3-1 loss to Kansas in the first round of the Bluejay Invitational at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb.
“You wonder how they are going to react to playing a different team,” Lady Bisons coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “We didn’t execute as well as I would have hoped, but we are going to address that.
“When you don’t do the little things they are going to eventually catch up to you. And they did in the Kansas match.”
Saturday the Lady Bisons will play host Creighton at noon at the D.J. Sokol Arena. At 5:30 the Lady Bisons close out the tournament against San Francisco.
The Lady Bisons beat Creighton 3-1 last season in the Jayhawks Invitational hosted by Kansas. This will be the first meeting with San Francisco in volleyball. Rosenthal scouted both teams, but he is more concerned with his own team.
“I like our chances against both of them,” Rosenthal said. “But right now it is not so much what everybody else is doing, but what we need to do.
“We have to step up our defensive game. We have to clean up our transition game. We have to take care of our own house.”
Eliminating errors was the emphasis of team talks after the Kansas match. The players ate dinner and watched video in preparation for Saturday. Rosenthal and assistant coach Samantha Sullivan were also planning to break down game film late into the night.
“We had hitting errors, service errors and ball handling errors,” Rosenthal said. “Wins are going to be determined by the team that makes the least errors.
“It is hard in the first couple of matches because there is so much to take in. I was pleased with the overall performance of the girls. I liked the fact we fought back quite a bit.”
The Lady Bisons lost 32-30 in set one and tied the match with a 27-25 win in set two. Kansas, from the Big 12 Conference, won set three 25-22 and also won set four 25-16 to seal the win.
“We were down in that first set by five or six points,” Rosenthal said. “We fought back. We had two or three opportunities to win that set.
“It was one of the problems of it being our first match. We were really not being the aggressor. We sat back a little too much.”
Senior middle hitter Alex Kelly led the Lady Bisons with 20 kills, tying for the match high, and a .326 hitting percentage. Junior Katie Rose made a successful transition from libero to middle hitter with 14 kills and .385 hitting percentage.
“Katie Rose did a fantastic job offensively for us,” Rosenthal said. “Alex had a pretty good match statistically.
“But we had opportunities for points that we didn’t finish. It is a matter of playing a couple of more matches. I think then we will be right there. We are still trying to figure out a couple of things.”
Also in double figures in kills was senior outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer with 11.
Kelly and Hinemeyer also finished in double figures in digs. Kelly recorded a match-high 21. Hinemeyer added 12.
As expected senior outside hitter Karina Garlington led Kansas with 20 kills and a .340 hitting percentage. Outside hitter Allison Mayfield added 17 kills.
Freshman Stephanie Rex made her collegiate debut as the libero.
“I thought overall Stephanie played a very solid game,” Rosenthal said. “I was impressed.”
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Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.