In three of their last four trips the Bisons have advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. On two different occasions they battled their opposition forcing two overtime periods.
Thursday night at a cold Summers-Taylor Stadium on the campus of East Tennessee State University the Bisons gave up the lone goal of the game for both teams as ETSU, the top seed in the tournament, scored with 7.2 seconds left.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Any time your season ends it is difficult,Ã¢â‚¬Â Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Any time you end the season in the conference tournament when you feel like you have the chance to win it is difficult. And then to lose the game the way we lost it is very, very difficult.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The last time the Bisons forced a double-overtime situation in the tournament was in 2008 when Jacksonville eventually won the game with a penalty kick. Morrow and assistant coach Kevin Burk were already putting together a list of shooters before ETSU made the decisive goal.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is a life lesson,Ã¢â‚¬Â Morrow said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“We didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t execute a perfect game plan, but for the most part we did what we wanted to do against them. We had our opportunities. We felt like some calls didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go our way.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sometimes you do your best. And at the end of the day it is not that your best wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t good enough itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just that things didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go your way.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ETSUÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Theo Yang scored the goal. With that one play Yang wiped out an outstanding performance by Lipscomb goalkeeper Brent McGee who equaled his season high with eight saves. He had made eight stops this season against Tulsa on Sept. 6 and ETSU Oct. 24.
It was the second time this season that Lipscomb and ETSU decided a game in overtime. ETSU won 2-1 at Lipscomb Oct. 24.
McGee kept the Bisons in the game, turning back five shots on goal in the first half as ETSU made 14 shot attempts overall. For the game ETSU finished with 24 shot attempts.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Brent has been up and down, especially early in the season,Ã¢â‚¬Â Morrow said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But as the season has worn on he has gotten better and better. He did an outstanding job against ETSU.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Bisons started slow offensively, but the number and the quality of their chances increased as the game progressed. The Bisons finished with 11 shots, four shots on goal.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It took us longer than we wanted to settle into the game,Ã¢â‚¬Â Morrow said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ETSU is very good at pressuring the ball and putting numbers around the ball.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It took our guys some time to settle down and be composed enough to break that pressure. Once we started doing that we had some good things develop. Miguel DaSilva, Garret Pettis and Nick Bibb were creating chances and looking dangerous.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Bisons ended the season with a 10-9 record. For DaSilva, defender Chase Nieri and midfielder Angel Chairez, it was the last chance to win the title and be part of the first team to go to the NCAA Tournament.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This is the third time this group has lost in the semifinals,Ã¢â‚¬Â Morrow said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“It is tough, especially so late in the game.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“This group of seniors aspired from the day that they got here to do so much more. Certainly, I think that the team we had out on the field in this game was good enough to go to the NCAA Tournament.Ã¢â‚¬Â
ETSU will play Stetson, the No. 2 seed for the championship Saturday afternoon. Stetson beat Jacksonville 1-0 in the other semifinals game. The winner earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.