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Kennesaw State (13-16)
11/21/2013 | Kennesaw, Ga. | Attendance: 607
Thursday, November 21, 2013
KENNESAW, Ga. – Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal remembers where he was when he got the news.
He also remembers what he was wearing when he heard that the Lady Bisons had qualified for their first Atlantic Sun Tournament. He has a picture in his office to remind him, though he isn’t quite certain where it is.
“When we got the asterisk next to our name we beat ETSU that night at Allen Arena,” Rosenthal said of that 2005 tournament berth. “I was wearing a light blue shirt, a pink tie and black pants. I will never forget it.”
Heading for the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament for the ninth year in a row is still exciting for Rosenthal. But he admits that the tournament is simply a destination on the road to where he wants his Lady Bisons to be- their fifth NCAA Tournament.
“These girls don’t remember that first tournament,” Rosenthal said. “They aren’t old enough.
“To go to nine straight conference tournaments is a feat to be proud of. It is a model of consistency. The tradition of it says a lot about our excellence as a whole. To do it for that many years is special.”
The Lady Bisons, the No. 3 seed, will face host Kennesaw State, the No. 6 seed, tonight at 6:30 at the KSU Convocation Center. The Lady Bisons have won all 13 meetings between the two teams. This season the Lady Bisons won by scores of 3-1 and 3-0.
This is the second time the Lady Bisons have been the No. 3 seed. Rosenthal downplays the seeding.
“It is really how you play more than the seeding,” Rosenthal said. “An extra day of rest is nice but we have had extra days of rest and we have lost. For us it is about controlling what we can control.”
The winner will advance to the semifinals Friday night at 6:30 against ETSU, the No. 2 seed.
“Getting to the A-Sun Tournament is no longer our main goal,” Rosenthal said. “It is one of our goals because it is a stepping stone to the NCAA Tournament.
“This week is filled with a lot of anxiousness and anticipation. I have no doubt that our girls are ready. This is what we have to do to get to our goal.”
Rosenthal has made it clear to his players that they are his main concern, not the opponent. The travel itinerary for the players simply refers to the other teams in the tournament as “the other team”.
“Kennesaw State is the next team we have to play,” Rosenthal said. “We could make a schedule at the beginning of the year that just has the date and the time and the other team.”
The coaches break down videos and analyze scouting reports for hours in preparation for a match. But for Rosenthal the name on the uniform and the colors they are wearing don’t matter.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing,” Rosenthal said. “As we go into it we are trying to simplify this and give some realization to the idea that the seeds, the names of the teams and where it is being played doesn’t matter.
“We are confident in our abilities. The other team is in the way of us reaching our goal.”
The Lady Bisons are 21-7 overall. Kennesaw State is 13-15.
“Being at home gives Kennesaw State an extra boost,” Rosenthal said. “There is no doubt there will be a great crowd. The last time we were there it was loud. I can’t imagine anything less.
“We have to take care of our side. For us that means we have to serve and pass well. We have to have a physical presence at the net. From there we have to attack with the mindset of not letting up. We have to be ferocious and relentless. That is what it is going to take.”
The match will be televised on ESPN3.