Lipscomb freshman Zarek Jakubowski picked a key time for his second career goal, and junior Ben Locke found plenty of space for his rocket shot in the first half.

Those goals gave the Bisons a 2-1 victory over Jacksonville in the ASUN men’s soccer semifinals at Lipscomb Soccer Complex on Sunday, propelling the Bisons to their second-straight ASUN title game appearance.

“In September, we hit [a] rough patch and weren’t sure if we were going to turn it around or not,” Lipscomb soccer coach Charles Morrow said. “We were certainly talented enough. From a coach’s standpoint, we believed we could [return to the title game], and I don’t think the players ever doubted that they could.”

The Bisons topped Jacksonville by the same score to win last year’s title and advance to their first-ever NCAA tournament. But after graduating 10 seniors, Lipscomb had to find production from its younger players. The team started the season 1-7, including a 3-2 loss in double overtime at Jacksonville on Sept. 22.

“We’re not the same team we were in September,” Morrow said. “This is a team that has continued to grow and develop. We knew we were a work in progress earlier in the year.”

Lipscomb took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute when Locke fired a low shot into the bottom-left corner of the net off a feed from Austin Eager.

Two minutes later, Jacksonville forward Reed Davis potted his sixth goal of the season to tie the score at one.

Jakubowski’s tally came when Jacksonville goalie Matt Levy misplayed a ball in the box, giving the Lipscomb forward a free shot at an empty net.

“[Levy] just kind of missed it, and I finished my opportunity,” Jakubowski said. “It was great to get the goal – we worked hard as a team.”

Jacksonville’s Selemani Baruani and Steven Saunders each had scoring chances in the waning moments, but neither shot was on target.

“Once we got the second goal, [it] kind of took the air out of Jacksonville and we were able to keep the ball for long stretches,” Morrow said.

Lipscomb earned home field advantage for the tournament thanks its first-place finish in the ASUN standings. The Bisons will battle Stetson for the league title next Saturday, November 10. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.

“I love the team and the energy,” Jakubowski said. “We’ll come back harder in the final and get the win.”

Photo courtesy of the ASUN Conference

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