|October 26, 2012||1st||2nd||3rd||Final|
MUEY - 1
DOBSON - 1
STOUT - 1
KELLERMAN - 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-When Secretariat was preparing for the final leg of his Triple Crown run at the Belmont Stakes, his trainer Lucien Laurin decided to work the chestnut stallion harder than normal in preparation for a race that often ruins the futures of champions.
Laurin took the chance and Secretariat won overwhelmingly. While the stakes weren’t quite that high for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team, coach Brandon Rosenthal decided to raise the bar in practice this past week in preparation for visits from ETSU and USC Upstate in Allen Arena.
The decision to push his team harder this week proved to be a winning strategy as the Lady Bisons beat ETSU 3-0 Friday night in an Atlantic Sun Conference match. The Lady Bisons won all three sets by identical 25-23 scores.
“It was a hard week of practice,” Rosenthal said. “I felt last week we were softer in practice and I felt like that was a reflection of how we played on Friday (a loss at North Florida).
“I wanted to go harder coming into this week. I wrestled with it in the back of my head. Every coach does. I guess if you win then you have done the right thing.”
The Lady Bisons are 10-2 in the A-Sun, 13-10 overall. ETSU fell to 7-5 in the conference, 16-10 overall.
“Our girls played confident throughout the match,” Rosenthal said. “We gave away points. There is no doubt about that. And that is not something I like to see.
“But I don’t we ever lost our confidence, even when were down 20-18 in the third set. Our girls knew it was one ball here and one ball there. I called a time out at that point and was pleased that we came out and we able to execute our game plan.”
Outside hitter Kaycee Green, the lone senior for the Lady Bisons, posted a match-high 17 kills. In the third set with the score tied 20-20 Green made back-to-back kills to move the Lady Bisons into a 22-20 lead. With the Lady Bisons leading 24-23 she slammed home the set and match point.
“As coaches we talked about the idea that we have a senior leader and someone who has played the game at the highest level,” Rosenthal said. “For the past couple of months Kaycee has done a nice job.”
Also in double figures in kills for the Lady Bisons were middle blocker Jewell Dobson with 13 and outside hitter Lauren Ford with 12.
Libero Stephanie Rex led the Lady Bisons with 12 digs.
ETSU placed two players in double figures in kills - Megan Devine with 13 and Meredith Hardy with 10. Devine had a double-double adding 13 digs. Katie Muey’s was credited with a match-high 15 digs.
Rosenthal was not surprised that the match was close. His theme of the week with the team has been competition and the need to realize that the Lady Bisons are the target of each opponent.
“When you pit two different styles of play against each other you are either going to have a blowout or have a really tight match,” Rosenthal said. “In the first two sets I felt like we were in control the whole way.
“The most impressive thing was how confident we played in the third set. Our girls didn’t want to four sets. The fans don’t want to go to four. I don’t want to go to four. They took care of what was in front of them and we haven’t done that all year.”
The weekend doesn’t get any easier for the Lady Bisons as they play against USC Upstate Saturday at 2 p.m. The Spartans lost at Northern Kentucky Friday night by a match score of 3-0. Upstate is 5-7 in the conference, 10-14 overall.
“We see the talent there and we see how hard Upstate plays,” Rosenthal said. “We have said for the past three or four years it was just a matter of confidence for them.
“Before, they were on the outside looking in at the tournament. Right now they are smack dab in the middle of it. There is a different dynamic. They are playing for something and they know they can play.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations for Athletics.