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Volleyball up to 33 in latest RPI rankings
Monday, November 10, 2014
By Mark McGee
Volleyball up to 33 in latest RPI rankings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons are ranked No. 33 in the NCAA Division I Volleyball RPI rankings this week, the highest ever for the program.

The previous high was a No. 34 rating at the end of the 2009 season. They were 38th last week.

The Lady Bisons won both matches on the road this past weekend, beating both North Florida and Jacksonville by 3-2 scores.

With the final regular season matches of the weekend scheduled at Allen Arena Friday and Saturday, Lipscomb coach Brandon Rosenthal isn’t getting too excited about the rating.

“It is nice,” Rosenthal said. “It has been fun to see what this program has achieved. But this time of the year it is tougher to see those numbers because the amount of the season for it to change becomes shorter and shorter.

“You can get wrapped up in how much it is going to change. And, all of a sudden, you can get yourself in a spot where you aren’t looking at the right things.”

Heading into the last weekend of the regular season only three teams – Lipscomb, Florida Gulf Coast and Stetson – have earned berths in the Atlantic Sun Tournament.

The Lady Bisons plans are to win the regular season and the A-Sun Tournament title and the automatic NCAA berth. But if they fail to meet those goals Rosenthal thinks the Purple and Gold would have a strong body of work for an at-large bid based on the RPI rankings.

Coaches are familiar with the rankings of other teams. The Lady Bisons are getting mentions on several of the volleyball message boards when discussions turn to potential teams in the NCAA Tournament field.

“It is great to be in this category,” Rosenthal said “We have worked 12 years to be in this spot where if things don’t work out our body of work could be such that we get an at-large bid.

“That is what I think. That is what the message boards think.  But it is a bit dangerous to think about it until it happens. Do I want to have to use that card? No, I don’t.”

In 2009 when the Lady Bisons were 36th they were confident if they had not won the A-Sun Tournament that they would have earned an at-large bid.

“I think we have a much better resume now,” Rosenthal said. “Perception is everything. I feel like we have done enough to get there.

“But we still have two more games to play in the regular season and a tournament to play. We have a lot of matches left. All we can do right now is take care of our opportunities. If we don’t then that number can fall very quickly for us.”

The Lady Bisons will play USC Upstate, 10-18, 1-11 in the A-Sun, Friday night at 5:30. This will also be “Senior Night” for Jewell Dobson, Lauren Ford, Jordan Huston, Sophie Kellerman and Megan Stout. The Lady Bisons will close out the regular season Saturday at 2 p.m. when Kennesaw State, 10-16, 4-8, visits.