The Lipscomb women’s soccer team claimed the 2021 ASUN Championship Saturday night in a 1-0 win over the Kennesaw State Owls at Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
After beating the Owls in the 2019 edition of the final at the same venue, Lipscomb repeated the same feat two years later, winning their second ASUN title in the past three attempts.
Collierville, Tennessee-born striker Kammy McGee was a member of the Bisons team that won on penalty kicks against KSU two years ago, but the 4th-year sophomore says this win feels different.
“It’s bittersweet,” McGee said, who will move on from the Lipscomb program after this season as an academic senior. “This year has been a lot different; I’ve spent so much more this year. But it feels all the same [in terms] of just the hard work that this team has put in and how much they love Jesus.”
McGee grabbed the winning goal in the first half, tapping in a pass from sophomore striker Molly Grant after Grant used tricky footwork to create space down the right side of the box. On a night where Lipscomb attempted 24 shots, it took a tap-in from McGee to give the Bisons a win they thoroughly deserved on both sides of the ball.
“It was just timing the run, basically,” McGee said. “I didn’t really know if it went in or not–I kind of blacked out from excitement.”
“I’m confident in Molly and her ability to get down the line and pass it.”
Defensively, the Bisons’ back line made it relatively easy for sophomore goalkeeper CJ Graham to earn her unprecedented 13th clean sheet in 20 matches this season, a mark that leads the nation.
Junior left back Emily Patti returned to the defensive unit for Lipscomb after recovering from a second injury setback this season. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Patti put in an hour-long shift on the back line after three weeks out of the team before being replaced by Furman transfer Angela Steidl.
In an epic high within a month of lows for Patti, she would be forgiven for riding high on pure elation. Instead, she was a picture of collectedness and poise post-match, even joking that her feeling on the win was “not bad, this is alright,” with a laugh.
“It was incredible being back out there,” Patti said. “I haven’t done too much or been active the last two days, so especially going into a conference final, there was a lot of tension there.”
“I didn’t know what I was walking into, but I was just so excited to be back out there with all of these girls.”
After being named ASUN Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, defensive midfielder and Penn State transfer Shelby Craft added another accolade to her collection by winning ASUN Player of the Tournament. Craft has four goals and two assists on the season along with her defensive efforts for the Bisons this year.
Lipscomb dominated from start to finish, finding the opener from McGee in the 22nd minute and never looking back from there. Taking a 11-2 shot advantage into the halftime break, the home side were full value for their lead and gave a capacity crowd of over 600 fans plenty to be excited about.
The second half only continued in the same vein; though Lipscomb didn’t find any more goals in the second period, they kept Kennesaw State out of the equation entirely. After putting up just two shots in the first half, the Owls didn’t shoot once in the second 45.
With the win, Lipscomb advances to 15-1-4 and gets their fifth straight victory. The Bisons also have four consecutive clean sheets and outscored their opponents in the ASUN Tournament 11-0.
The 15-win mark on the season matches the total from the 2018 team that reached the second round of the NCAA College Cup, into which the Bisons have now earned an automatic berth.
One of 64 participating teams, Lipscomb will learn its first-round matchup as well as the location and time of the match during the NCAA Women’s College Cup Selection Show Monday at 3:30 pm. The show will be broadcast live on The Bison, Lipscomb’s on-campus radio station.
Photo courtesy of Lipscomb Athletics