Former Lipscomb goalkeeper Micah Bledsoe helped lead Nashville SC to a 2-0 victory against the Bisons on Thursday night at the Lipscomb soccer complex.
Bledsoe, who spent last season with USL Cup champions, Louisville City, just recently signed his contract with Nashville Soccer Club on Feb. 10. The 6-foot-4 starting keeper graduated as Lipscomb’s all-time leader in wins (26), save percentage (.735) and clean sheets (15).
“It is a little weird (playing your old team), but as soon as the game kicks off, you forget about it pretty quickly,” Bledsoe said. “But it was a little interesting, a little surreal.”
In addition to Bledsoe, three recent Lipscomb grads also got a chance to play on their previous home turf as “trialists” — Ivan Alvarado, Ivan Sakou and Eduardo Reza.
Despite the second-half surge, Nashville SC’s head coach Gary Smith said he pinpointed some challenges his team faced in the game that he wants his players to improve upon and fix. The whole first half remained neck-and-neck, with a similar amount of possession for each team. At the end of the first half, Lipscomb and Nashville SC remained tied 0-0, despite each tallying a number of shooting opportunities.
“The younger group started . . .and it was nice to see our first USL group, and then the (second) group came on, and, in fairness, dominated the game but couldn’t score,” Smith said. “We had some challenges — they (Lipscomb) set very deep — that we have to look at and work out.”
Goals from Ian McGrath and Martin Galvao sealed the win over Lipscomb in the second half. Galvao also had the assist on McGrath’s second-half shot before he rocketed in his own goal into the lower left corner with 15 minutes remaining in the second half.
Lipscomb head coach Charles Morrow noted that for some of his players, this was their first time ever playing in a college soccer game (and that happened to be playing against a pro-team).
“This was a great opportunity for our players and a good litmus test for where we are at right now,” Morrow said. “Our fitness really showed at the end of the second half, but this was a great opportunity for us to grow and build. We played great — we were just a little bit unlucky this time around.”
Nashville SC and Lipscomb Bison fans ranging in all ages gathered on the hill to watch the game — something Bledsoe said he is glad that younger soccer players now have the opportunity to do because it allows a different mindset when one is able to watch a pro-soccer team in Nashville at a young age.
“When you’re playing in college, you can go right down the road and watch a pro-team,” Bledsoe said. “That’s something you can compare yourself to and pick things up just by watching the game. It can help kids to have something to look forward to and aspire to be.”
The match against Nashville SC gave Lipscomb a fifth and final game to round out its 2018 spring slate. The Bisons next game is March 7 in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, against Louisville City FC, a professional team out of the United Soccer League. Kickoff is slated for 6:30 p.m. The next home game on the spring schedule is April 14 against Memphis.
Nashville SC’s season begins March 17, facing off against Lousiville City FC in Kentucky. The first home game is March 24 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
Photo of courtesy Lipscomb Athletics