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Jacksonville State (1-4)
9/6/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 116
9/6/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 311
South Alabama (2-4)
9/7/2013 | Nashville, Tenn. | Attendance: 223
Wednesday, September 04, 2013
Challenging tournaments are a traditional part of the preconference schedule for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team.
They have completed one, finishing 1-2 at the Bulldog Invitational at the University of Georgia. This weekend’s tournament is a little different since instead of traveling the Lady Bisons are serving as the hosts for the Lipscomb Invitational Friday and Saturday at Allen Arena.
“Being on the road can take a toll on you,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “It is great to be at home in front of our home crowd."
“The interest in our program has grown tremendously over the years. Our girls are leaders on the campus and are pretty well known. It is always fun to get out there and have them show their skills to our fans early in the season. I am excited that we can show off what we have been working on for quite some time.”
The tournament begins at 10 a.m. Friday when South Alabama faces Samford. The Lady Bisons play Jacksonville State at 12:30 followed by Jacksonville State and South Alabama at 5. The Lady Bisons close out the day with a match against Samford at 7:30.
Saturday the Lady Bisons face South Alabama at 2:30. A noon match between Samford and Jacksonville State opens the day’s play.
“We have three teams that are hungry in their own right,” Rosenthal said. “They want to put their names on their seasons, but I think there is also a desire to beat Lipscomb.”
The Lady Bisons are 3-1 overall in matches with Samford winning the last meeting at Allen Arena in 2007. The Lady Bisons are 0-2 in the series with Jacksonville State including one loss at Allen Arena. The two teams have not met since 2002. The Lady Bisons are 1-0 against South Alabama with a win in the Jaguar Classic in 2007.
“We have had a pretty impressive record here at Allen Arena,” Rosenthal said. “We don’t intend on giving that up any time soon."
“This has been a good place for us and our girls are obviously comfortable here. We spend every day here but to come out and wear your uniform in front of a home crowd definitely amps up your energy level.”
Rosenthal liked a lot of the things he saw from his team in the first weekend, but they have also spent the week working on several issues.
“I was pleased with the consistency of our play this past weekend,” Rosenthal said. “We came up a little bit short in two matches. That is part of the things we have to adjust and that is what we have been working on."
“We have to build confidence. There are things we learned about ourselves over the weekend that we are addressing this week. The things we are working on are things that we can fix.”
But the concern for Rosenthal is not what happened in Georgia, but how will his team react this weekend and in future matches based on what they have learned.
“It is a matter of how do we move forward,” Rosenthal said. “We have to get better and sharpen up our ability to extend leads. We are working hard to get a two-or-three point lead, but we have to be able to turn it into a five-or-six point lead."
“Good teams do not let the other team back in. We have had some of those teams in the past here. To be honest with you that was a luxury.”
Volleyball is a game of momentum and Rosenthal is stressing to his Lady Bisons the importance of not taking steps back, especially late in a match.
“We have got to work harder at minimizing the other team’s extra opportunities,” Rosenthal said. “The more chances you give a team the quicker momentum can change."
“Our mental toughness and our mental sharpness wanes. As a coaching staff that is something we have addressed and will continue to address. We have to be as sharp or sharper at the end of a match as we are at the beginning of the match.”
The players answered one important question for Rosenthal this past weekend.
“I had a question about the passion and the energy they were going to play with over an extended period of time against tough teams,” Rosenthal said. “They showed me some real grit."
“Win or lose that is the way we have to play. It is neat to see that coming out.”