NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It has been said that the saddest thing in life is a missed opportunity.
The main message for the Lipscomb Lady Bisons volleyball team is to not let opportunities pass them by whether it is a chance to get better, a chance to score or a chance to win.
Coach Brandon Rosenthal stressed to his Lady Bisons over the weekend at the Tiger Invitational hosted by the University of Missouri the importance of the opportunities they were presented. The Lady Bisons were undefeated in the tournament with wins over host Missouri (3-1), Oakland (3-0) and Illinois State (3-2) to take first place.
“Opportunities are what we continue to talk about,” Rosenthal said. “What are we going to do with these opportunities?
“So much of our world is about winning and losing and I get that. But it is not necessarily about winning and losing right now. It is about making the most of our opportunities and letting the cards fall after that.”
Lipscomb outside hitter Lauren Ford was named the most valuable player. Right side Brittnay Estes and libero Bri McCombs were also named to the all-tournament team.
The performance was even more impressive when taking into account the loss of middle blocker Jewell Dobson in the second set against Missouri Friday afternoon in the first match of the tournament. She has a lower extremity injury and is scheduled to be re-evaluated Monday.
“I am proud of this team,” Rosenthal said. “It is real easy to get caught up in the score and what happened.”
After sweeping Oakland earlier in the day Saturday the Lady Bisons closed out with an intense match with Illinois State. After winning set one, the Lady Bisons lost in sets two and three. The Lady Bisons rallied in set four to tie the match.
In set five, after spotting Illinois State a 5-1 lead, the Lady Bisons fought back for a 15-13 decision.
“This is all part of the process,” Rosenthal said. “There are some things we unfortunately have to go through sometimes as we figure it all out.
“If you made a mistake it is in the past you have to make the most of your next opportunity. “In (sets four and five) it was an extra opportunity to get better. I wanted them to get after it.”
Rosenthal points to a couple of situations where that was the case in the crucial set five.
“Brittany Thomas missed her first serve and then came back and served really tough the next time around,” Rosenthal said. “Katie Bradley was really tentative in the first four or five points. I was a little frustrated with that.
“I was like, `hey, this is what you work for’. Go for it. Don’t come back here and say I wish I would have. Go for it and then we can make some adjustments if we have to do it.”
The Lady Bisons, 5-1, are off to the best start ever in the NCAA era after six games. They open the home portion of the schedule Tuesday night at 6:30 at Allen Arena when Western Kentucky visits.
“When you are battling against good teams people are going to make plays,” Rosenthal said. “We continue to talk a lot about the caliber of teams we are facing and what we are going to have to do to keep going farther. And that is to not stop believing and really trust what we have going on here.
“This is a very mature team. They are very much in the know. They are prepared. There is a calm within the team.”