The Lady Bisons swept South Carolina State 3-0 in the second match of the Gamecock Invitational at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. The set scores were 25-11, 25-18 and 25-11 Friday afternoon.
The Lady Bisons posted a .370 hitting percentage as a team.
“We were pretty efficient,” Rosenthal said.
The win was nice, but the match allowed Rosenthal to watch freshman Caitlin “Dot” Dotson work as a setter. She is the heir apparent to fill the role when Stefine “Jake” Pease ends her collegiate career.
“Dot is the back-up setter and the setter of the future,” Rosenthal said. “I like what she has been doing defensively for us, but at the end of the day she is here to set.
“She does it every day in practice. But for her to get that opportunity in a match is invaluable.”
Rosenthal compares Dotson favorably with Pease.
“Dot is very athletic and very aggressive,” Rosenthal said. “She has a little different style of leadership than Jake, but she has that drive and that winner’s mentality.”
Also enjoying a longer amount of time on the court were freshman Claire Peterson, redshirt freshman Amanda Rhein, senior Elly Kaiser, sophomore Kory Honel and junior Kelsey Neumann.
“It’s one of those things where we could get them in when the pressure of winning wasn’t there,” Rosenthal said. “They could just go out and play. It is really important to get them playing time. They have worked really hard.
“I liked that we were able to play them. I also liked that they executed what we had been working on. It had to be fun for them. They see the team ahead of them and know they are going to be a big part of the future.”
Rosenthal admits it is often a difficult transition for players who were standouts on their high school or club teams but find themselves playing reserve roles as freshmen and sophomores.
“It’s one of the things we are very up front with them about,” Rosenthal said. “All of the positions are open. The players have to be honest with themselves in determining if they are better than the person starting. That’s a hard thing for them to do sometimes because they have never had to really answer that question.”
Middle blocker Alex Kelly led with 16 kills, her second match high of the day. She posted 17 kills in a 3-0 match sweep of Furman to start the tournament. Kelly also had a .500 hitting percentage.
Outside hitter Meghan Hinemeyer was credited with 12 digs, a match high. She also had a match high 17 digs against Furman.
The Lady Bisons are 6-2. South Carolina State is 1-9.
They will face host South Carolina Saturday morning at 10 a.m. South Carolina, 2-6, also swept Furman and South Carolina State Friday.
“South Carolina has nine freshmen on the team,” Rosenthal said. “They are going to get better and better each week.
“It will be a tough test. They have a height advantage, but it won’t be the first time we have been up against that. For us it is about executing our game plan.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.