NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lipscomb volleyball coach Brandon Rosenthal put his team through a five-set intrasquad match and he couldn’t help but smile about what he saw.
Sunday afternoon at Allen Arena Rosenthal got a long look at his team. To paraphrase Elvis Presley Rosenthal thinks it is time for a little less conversation and little more action after one week of practice.
“The leaders of the team have said some things,” Rosenthal said. “Now it is about action, not just words.
“Our defense has been pretty impressive. It has been hard to score. You can tell this team has played together long enough to know where everyone excels.”
Junior Kayla Ostrom, the Atlantic Sun Preseason Setter of the Year, likes what she is seeing from the six freshman additions to the team.
“It has been great,” Ostrom said. “They are very young, but very talented. We are trying to get the tempo figured out and working on different plays with them. We are still working those things out.”
Ostrom thinks the tempo issues will be smoothed out before the first match of the season which is Friday, Aug. 28, against California State-Northridge at the Utah Classic in Salt Lake City.
“They jump a lot higher,” Ostrom said. “Their arms are really strong. They are very fast. It is fun setting players who jump really high and have a shot. If the set is not quite there they can still get it.”
Rosenthal likes what he is seeing from the entire freshman class, but he has been particularly impressed by the play of outside hitters Carlyle Nusbaum and Lauren Anderson.
“Both of them had good weeks,” Rosenthal said. “Now it is about getting them to understand what that next level is.
“Both of them have been very talented to this point. One of the challenges they are facing is understanding you can’t just rely on talent. There has to be hard work. It is a grind and for the first time they are going through that.”
Lauren Anderson, like any new player, is making both physical and mental adjustments to NCAA Division I volleyball.
“Everybody is just stellar and playing really good,” Anderson said. “It is good to have that competition every day to push us.
“It has been a bit of an adjustment to come in and have to prove yourself all over again. But it has been good because the other girls are there backing you up and telling you to go for it. It has been a good transition but I am looking forward to going further, too.”
Anderson was a star as a high school player, but she has quickly discovered that every player on the Lipscomb volleyball roster is a star.
“Coming from small schools, like some of us have, we were on teams where not everyone was going to play college volleyball,” she said. “We were looked on as leaders.
“Here, everyone is a leader. Everyone brings something special. Knowing everyone is just as good as you are has been part of the transition too.”
She rates the scrimmage as another step in her adjustment period.
“It is different putting the uniform on, putting the net up and having people watch us play,” Anderson said. “It was different than practice. It makes me look forward even more to starting the season.”
Rosenthal is giving the team a day off Monday before resuming preseason preparations Tuesday.
“Practices have been pretty competitive,” Rosenthal said. “A day off is needed and deserved.
“We will know more about this scrimmage once we watch the video. This is a deep team. There are a lot of things that we can do. We have to start preparing for Cal State-Northridge and develop what people would call our starting lineup. We have seen where we can make some moves here and there. I liked the energy. I liked what I saw.”