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Virginia Tech (8-1)
9/13/2013 | Blacksburg, Va. | Attendance: 426
9/14/2013 | Blacksburg, Va. | Attendance: 157
William and Mary (3-7)
9/14/2013 | Blacksburg, Va. | Attendance: 78
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Good news is good news even if it is only the third week of the season.
The NCAA’s first statistical report of the volleyball season has the Lipscomb Lady Bisons ranked second in the nation in kills per set with 15.58 and eighth in assists per set with 13.89. The Lady Bisons are 18th nationally with a .298 hitting percentage.
Individually, setter Caitlin Dotson is fourth in the nation in assists per set with 12.26.
Middle blocker Jewell Dobson is 13th in kills per set with 4.63 and outside hitter Lauren Ford is 47th with 4.0.
Dobson is also 13th in points per set with 5.18. Ford is 61st in points per set with 4.37.
Dobson is 26th with a .445 hitting percentage. Middle blocker Molly Spitznagle is 132nd with a .358 hitting percentage.
“A lot of what we are seeing is great both individually and as a team,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “But it is early and we have to keep things in perspective.
“It is great to see it because of who we are up there with. It is a by-product of the girls’ hard work.”
Rosenthal sees the rankings as a strong indication of where the program is on a national scale. But he doesn’t want his players to be too concerned about the statistical rankings.
“It is easy to get caught up in it,” Rosenthal said. “I don’t know if our girls know about the rankings.”
The Lady Bisons play their final tournament of the preconference schedule Friday and Saturday at the Hokie Classic at Virginia Tech’s Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. The Lady Bisons will face the host team Friday at 6 p.m. The Hokies are 7-1.
Saturday the Lady Bisons play Duquesne, 4-2, at 9:30 a.m. followed by William & Mary, 2-5, at 4 p.m.
It will be the first time the Lady Bisons have faced each of the three teams.
“Virginia Tech knows what we are bringing to the table,” Rosenthal said. “A lot of it comes through the network of volleyball coaches. Chris Riley (Virginia Tech’s head coach) knows me well.
“I am sure Virginia Tech sees us as a formidable foe. We are not going to be a surprise.”
The Lady Bisons enter the invitational with a 4-2 record after sweeping their last three matches.
“This is an opportunity for us to beat a higher-ranked team,” Rosenthal said. “That is always fun.”
One of the concerns for the Lady Bisons is the outside hitting of Virginia Tech. Samantha Gostling leads the team with 87 kills followed by Lindsey Owens with 74. Middle blocker Kathryn Caine has added 73.
“Both of those outside hitters are very good players,” Rosenthal said. “They hit a higher ball than we are used to seeing. We will have to adjust our defense.”
Rosenthal thinks there is parity among the four teams. The challenge is to play a high level over a two-day period with less than 24 hours separating all three matches.
“We are evenly matched if we play well,” Rosenthal said. “We have played at a pretty consistent level in our first six matches though we haven’t always finished.
“We have to continue to challenge ourselves. That is something that is hard to do in three matches like these.”
Rosenthal likes the fact that his players aren’t overly concerned with the names on the uniforms of their opponents.
“They have learned they can dictate a lot of pressure,” Rosenthal said. “It doesn’t bother them who is across the net.”