After a late-season bye, the VolleyBlog is back for the final time of the regular season. While five teams know they are bound for Fort Myers, Fla. and next week's Atlantic Sun Volleyball Championship, only two know their seeding and one game will decide the final spot.
Bisons Secure Perfect Season
With a four-set win against Boulevard rival Belmont, Lipscomb completed the Atlantic Sun portion of its schedule an unblemished 10-0, becoming the first team in the country to complete perfect conference regular-season records spanning the past two years. Only Northern Iowa from the Missouri Valley and Hawaii from the WAC could join Lipscomb on this list. The 2010 Bisons join UCF teams from 1999 and 2003, ETSU's 2006 and last year's team as the only five in A-Sun single-division history to turn in undefeated conference records. Only last year's Bisons and the 2003 Knights would also win the A-Sun Conference Tournament Championship.
River City Rumble to Determine Final A-Sun Championship Spot
Jacksonville and UNF both beat Campbell at home last weekend to first, eliminate the Camels from contention for making the A-Sun Championship field, and second, to set up a winner-take-all contest between the crosstown rivals for the sixth seed. In a non-conference match last month, the Dolphins rallied for a five-set win. The Dolphins hit .433 and .500 respectively in the final two sets to pull out the win. In 17 all-time meetings, the Dolphins own a 9-8 lead.
With 12 wins in its last 13 games, Lipscomb reached the 20-win mark, giving the conference multiple 20-win teams for the 10th time in the last 11 years joining ETSU. Lipscomb has now posted 20-win seasons in four consecutive years. Only one other current A-Sun school, Belmont, has recorded four straight 20-win campaigns while in the conference. The Bruins won at least 20 games every season from 2004 through 2008. Former members College of Charleston (1991-95) and Southeastern Louisiana (1992-96) and UCF (1993-1997 also put together five straight 20-win seasons while Georgia State strung together four such years in a row, 2000-03.
Owls Continue Ascent
Although its program-best eight-game win streak ended with a loss to Georgia, Kennesaw State has not lost to a conference foe in more than a month. With wins against ETSU and USC Upstate last weekend, the Owls locked up the second seed for the A-Sun Championship. Sabrita Gulley earned A-Sun Player of the Week honors and Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU.com) tabbed her as a "Top Performer" for the week.
Sophomore libero Monique Russell became the first Stetson volleyball player since 1997 to record 400 digs in a single season. She reached that milestone in Hatters' Saturday contest against Lipscomb. Russell now has 405 digs in 2010, the first Hatter since Melissa Roy 13 years ago to surpass the 400 mark, and is tied for second on the Stetson single-season list. Cindy Benge set the record with 455 digs in 1991; after totaling 19 digs in the Hatters' 5-set win against Bethune-Cookman, Russell needs 31 digs Saturday at FGCU to tie the record.