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Volleyball preps for the little things

Thursday, August 21, 2014
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Since before the start of preseason practice the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team has been viewing the big picture.

With the opening matches of the season scheduled for Aug. 29 at the Kansas Invitational, coach Brandon Rosenthal has his players making a slight change in emphasis and starting to work on the little things.

“We want them to realize what is about to take place,” Rosenthal said. “The opponents we have coming out of the gate are extremely tough. That is going to pose a different challenge.

“We have done what we can and we have prepared ourselves. Now we have to go out there and get crazy and do what we have been talking about doing.”

One of the key quotes for the team this week was by the late basketball coaching legend John Wooden who said, “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

The Lady Bisons have big goals. They want to win the Atlantic Sun regular season. They want to be the tournament champion. They not only want to return to the NCAA Tournament after a two-year absence, they want to make an impact when they get there.

“We have talked a lot about the big picture, big ideas and the big scheme of things,” Rosenthal said. “Now as we go into this last week-and-a-half we have to tighten everything up. Those big dreams and big ideas can’t happen unless we take care of the small things.”

One area of emphasis is increasing the urgency to score. The Lady Bisons have a number of offensive weapons this season and Rosenthal plans to use them to the fullest extent of their talents.

“At the middle of a set they have to realize they need to take charge or get things going,” Rosenthal said. “That urgency to score has to continue to grow and that is a hard thing to do when you are playing each other all of the time in practice.

“They know each other so well. It becomes difficult to score. They just try to get into rallies.”

There are five seniors and three juniors on the team. Rosenthal finds so much experience to be a great blessing, but also one that can present challenges as well.

“We have a big group of seniors,” Rosenthal said. “Going into that first match is comforting because they have been there before. It could also come back to haunt us if they come out thinking about what they did last year. There is a still a little unknown there.

“We have an older group of girls. We have to manage their bodies a little bit differently. We have four or five starters who have played a lot of time over their careers here. We have to think about that going into practice. Where can we save them? Do we give them a day off here and there?”

Rosenthal and his coaching staff have allowed the players to simply play against each other at times in practices. Technical aspects of the game are always taught in practice, but as the first match approaches there is more of an emphasis on scrimmaging.

“We have to gear up,” Rosenthal said.

Senior Sophie Kellerman and juniors Brittnay Estes and Molly Spitznagle have looked strong in practices.

“Sophie really worked hard last year to try to get it,” Rosenthal said. “I am expecting some great things out of her.

“Brittnay and Molly have done a good job of continuing to get better and really add their stamp to the team. It should be fun to watch.”