After a riveting week of coming off the ASUN Semifinal win against Florida Gulf Coast University, Lipscomb Men’s Soccer made the journey to Jacksonville, Fla. this weekend for a chance to beat No. 5 seed, Jacksonville to clinch the ASUN Championship.
90 minutes of rain, win and battle occurred on the field tonight, all for the Bisons to pull out the Championship victory 2-1 for the first time in program history.
The first twenty-nine minutes were anything but quiet as both teams took shot after shot on each other’s keepers. However, it was not until 30 minutes in that Lipscomb senior Kyle Smith scored the first goal of the match when he took the shot off the rebound from Jacksonville’s goalkeeper.
At halftime, the Bisons were still leading the game 1-0 with two more close attempts for that second goal. Lipscomb was not the only team playing, as Jacksonville picked up its pace tying the game 1-1 with just 28 minutes remaining.
Six minutes later, the Dolphins gave the Bisons the opportunity to reclaim their lead after a penalty. Senior Eduardo Reza stepped up to the penalty line and keeping himself collected, stole the lead back for the Bisons 2-1 as the ball kept its position on the ground along the left post.
The clock continued to wind down and Jacksonville never gave up, but when the buzzer sounded through the stadium, signaling the end of the hard-fought match, the Bisons were named the 2017 ASUN Men’s Soccer Champions.
In a postgame interview with ESPN3, head coach Charles Morrow mentioned that over the past six to eight seasons there have been a lot of near misses for this moment, but that he knows there is still a sense of pride from those men that played during the time.
“We’ve been getting texts all day, and I know they’re following and just really happy for all the guys that have been apart of this, and I hope they know that they played a big part in ultimately a championship tonight,” Morrows said.
During the trophy presentation, five members of the Men’s Soccer Team were named to the All-Tournament Team. These members included juniors Ryan Birchfield and Logan Paynter, and seniors Eduardo Reza, Ivan Alvarado, and Ivan Sakou. In addition to being named to the All-Tournament Team, Sakou will also be bringing home the title of the 2017 ASUN Championship MVP.
In addition to this being the first time in program history for Lipscomb to win the ASUN Championship, this is also the first time that the No. 6 seed has won the ASUN Tournament.
“I don’t think the guys ever looked at that sixth seed and saw it as something that defined who they were,” Morrows added. “[They] knew that they were much more capable then a normal sixth seed, and there was just an overwhelming sense of confidence coming in.”
The Bisons will determine their first round opponent on Monday, November 13 at 1 p.m. during the NCAA Selection Show.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics