Lipscomb women’s soccer coach Kevin O’Brien typically schedules several Power 5 opponents to help the Lady Bisons prepare for ASUN play.
However, sometimes his team plays the spoiler role against unsuspecting opponents.
Such was the case Sunday night as the Lady Bisons topped Kentucky by a score of 2-1 at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
“For us, any time we get to play a Power 5, it’s a special thing,” O’Brien said. “We don’t win all of them, that’s for darn sure. But whenever we get a Power 5 win, that’s pretty special.”
The win is Lipscomb’s first over an SEC opponent since beating Mississippi State on August 26, 2016. Lipscomb went 0-3-1 against SEC teams in 2017, including a 2-1 loss at Kentucky last September.
“We’ve got a squad that doesn’t fear anybody,” O’Brien said. “[Bigger schools] might have more blue-chip recruits or athleticism, but in the end, a lot of it is about heart, determination and a willingness to work for each other.”
The Lady Bisons got on the board just eight minutes into the game when defender Hailey Eck looped a pass to Maycie McKay, who sidestepped Kentucky goalkeeper Hannah Leonard and finished an easy chip shot.
“We’ve switched [McKay] from being a winger to more out an out-and-out forward, and she’s doing great,” O’Brien said. “She’s composed around the goal and finishes her chances.”
Kentucky (4-6) knotted the score at one with a goal from Miranda Jimenez in the 40th minute. The Wildcats thoroughly dominated the first half and outshot Lipscomb 11-2.
But the Lady Bisons (5-3-2) kept the Wildcats from scoring again, thanks to six saves from goalie Kate Mason. Lipscomb took 11 shots of its own in the second half, including the game winner off the foot of junior midfielder Jordan Walsh.
Senior Brooke Brenner threaded a pass through several Kentucky defenders and the ball found its way to Walsh, who fired a high-arching shot from the top of the box.
“It was really clean technically,” O’Brien said of Walsh’s goal. “She saw the opening and chipped it over the keeper. It was a great, great finish.”
Lipscomb opens ASUN play this Friday at NJIT. Kick-off is set for 2 p.m. CT in Newark, New Jersey.
“We’re ready,” O’Brien said. “If we can put in a performance like we did tonight, then we’re definitely ready. But it’s a long trip and a tough place to play. It’s going to be really wide open in the conference this year.”
Photo by J. Wilkinson/Lipscomb Athletics