|November 19, 2011||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
DOBSON - 12
MCCOY - 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – To say that the Lipscomb volleyball team entered the 2011 Atlantic Sun Tournament with a huge chip on their shoulder might be an understatement.
Having had their record 44-game A-Sun conference match winning streak snapped on Belmont’s home floor on Oct. 25, the Lady Bisons manhandled Florida Gulf Coast on Friday before rolling past Belmont 3-0 (25-16, 25-16, 25-14) at Allen Arena on Saturday afternoon to claim their third-straight A-Sun Tournament crown.
“It’s one of those things where we really don’t go into thinking we’re going to win 3-0 or whatever,” said Lipscomb head coach Brandon Rosenthal.” I knew what this team was capable of and after last night’s performance I felt really good. We had a fantastic week of practice and more so than anything, those two losses at Belmont and at ETSU really taught us something. It was a wakeup call to our girls.”
Facing the top defense in the A-Sun statistically, the Lady Bisons proved to have the tougher mettle on Saturday holding the Bruins to a .059 hitting average. Meanwhile, the Lipscomb offense hit .297 on the afternoon reaching the 20-win mark for the fifth-straight season.
“I’ve said it all year, if our defense is playing well, we’re going to be tough just because of our transition offense and you really saw it tonight,” said Rosenthal. “I give credit to our team and the fact there’s a lot of young kids and that’s something we really hammered on this week was building on leads. It’s a complete and total team effort.”
Lipscomb freshmen Lauren Ford and Jewell Dobson each had a dozen kills in the match as the Lady Bisons improved to 20-9 on the season. Senior middle blocker Katie Rose was named the tournament MVP for her play on the weekend. She was joined by Ford and senior setter Abby Fay on the all-tournament team.
“For me, more than ever is just to see the alumni, to see the banners and see what this program is,” said Rosenthal. “To be able to host a championship here and host it extremely well means the world to me. I put my heart and soul and my family does and Jake and Sam and the girls and all their families put their heart and soul into this. It’s just awesome.”
Sophomore setter Caitlin Dotson led the way defensively for Lipscomb with a 12-dig effort followed by Rose’s 10 digs. For the game, Lipscomb outdug Belmont 39-31 and also outserved the Bruins as the Lady Bisons notched eight service aces to none for the tournament’s top seed.
With the 30th-straight win at home against A-Sun foes, the Lady Bisons advance to the 2011 NCAA Tournament as representatives of the A-Sun. The announcement will be made on Sunday, Nov. 27 live on ESPN News. The Lady Bisons will host a selection show part beginning at 4:30 p.m. at a location still to be determined.
Prior to the Lady Bisons fourth trip to the NCAA postseason in the last five years, Lipscomb will wrap up the regular season slate on Nov. 26 at Xavier.