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Volleyball's newest members already recognized nationally

Thursday, May 29, 2014
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The incoming freshman class for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team is receiving national recognition from prepvolleyball.com.

Brittany Thomas was named one of 13 First Team “Gym Dandies”, under the category of “Defensive Dandies”. She is a libero from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kansas.

The freshman class received “Highest Honorable Mention” honors.

“That’s impressive,” Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal said. “It is a real compliment to her to receive something like this.

“We couldn’t be happier having Brittany on the team. She is going to bring such energy to the team. She has relentlessness to her. She is really a student of the game. She has competiveness that is contagious and fits right in with what we have tried to do for the past decade here with a `never say die’ attitude.”

As a senior at St. Thomas Aquinas she was named First Team All-Metro and First Team All-State. She made 326 digs, 5.6 per game. Her true value to the team will go beyond statistics.

“Brittany has a spark to her,” Rosenthal said. “You will see it right from day one.  People want to be around her. It is fun to be around her. She is a leader on the court and also in her school.

“She is a heckuva an athlete. She is a former gymnast. She hates losing. I have seen that watching her in club matches. We have had a lot of experience watching her.”

She is one of four possible players at the defensive specialist/Libero position including Bri McCombs, the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Libero of the Year.

“It is really going to be fun to see Brittany in the mix,” Rosenthal said. “I think she is coming here ready to compete.

“Right now we have a good stable of people in that position. But it seems like towards the end of the year you can’t have enough of them. Oftentimes with that position you have one or two and you kind of roll the dice. This time we have four girls who are legitimate contenders. It should be a lot of fun in practice to see them battle it out.”

McCombs, who transferred from Middle Tennessee, came in last season and took over the libero role.  Rosenthal has talked with her and she knows what is at stake in the competition.

“It definitely poses a challenge from a coaching standpoint, but we have always said we are going to put the best six to eight players on the floor,” Rosenthal said. “I think Bri understands it. We had a very good defensive player in Stephanie Rex last season and Bri came in and won the position.

“We have always been fair and up front with everybody.  They will all get an equal shot. It is not about how old you are or what class you are. It is about playing at the highest level.”

Rosenthal likes that his class has been recognized for its potential. In addition to Thomas the other members of the freshman class are middle blocker Desteny Boyd (Willoughby Hills, Ohio), Libero Jenny Phelan (Chicago, Illinois) and outside hitter Chloe Rogers (Stillwell, Kansas).

He credits current assistant coaches Ann Armes and Billy Ebel and past assistants Jeff Wismer and Samantha Sullivan for their work.

“It is great to be in that mix,” Rosenthal said. ““I am excited to be in the list. I am excited to have these girls come here and show is what they are all about. These girls deserve it.

“These are names on paper.  At the end of the day they have to play and that might take some time. That is true with many of the teams on this list. You have to be patient.”