FT. MYERS, Fla. – Making its sixth straight appearance in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament, the Lipscomb men’s soccer team won the quarterfinal match against USC Upstate 1-0 Wednesday night in Ft. Myers, Fla.
The win is the first No. 5seed to beat a No. 4 seed in the A-Sun Tournament since 2009 and improves the Bisons season record to 7-11-1. LU is 4-4-1 all-time tournament play.
The quarterfinal round was the inaugural A-Sun Tournament appearance for the Spartans who end their season with a 5-10-2 record.
“It wasn’t the prettiest game we played on the year,” head coach Charles Morrow said. “I think tournament jitters got to the guys a little bit. We settled in and played smart.
“We feel good with where we are at. We were the better team tonight and definitely deserve the win.”
Action in the first 30 minutes of play mirrored that of the first match between the two schools this season that saw the Spartans take a 1-0 overtime win at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex. A physical match with control between both teams holding in the midfield.
That all changed in the 31st minute as Jeremy Reid took a pass in the midfield and guided a ball to the feet of Tyler Burkhardt.
Burkhardt made a spin around the last defender and unleashed the first shot of the game. The blast from the top-right of the penalty box sailed into the left corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
“Tyler’s goal was unbelievable, Morrow said. “We made a couple of passes in the midfield and Tyler made a great run and slipped in behind them. He made a half-turn and hit it back post. I don’t think we will see a better goal all tournament.”
The Spartans attempted their first shot of the contest in the 32nd minute that nearly made it into the net. John Kadane sent a strike from 25 yards out over LU goalkeeper John Schnurbusch. However, Kadane’s shot hit off the cross bar and came bouncing back into play harmlessly.
Burkhardt nearly doubled his goal total for the day in the 41st minute. Unleashing a shot from virtually the same location as his first strike, Burkhardt elected to keep the ball on the ground this time but had it roll just left of the post.
After attempting just one shot in the first half, the Spartans paced a few more in the second with four attempts. The best opportunity came in the 57th minute as Dave Musambi, the forward who hit the game-winner in the first match, ran a header just wide right of the goal.
The Bisons out shot Upstate 10-5 including six shots on goal. The stifling Purple and Gold defense did not allow a single Spartan shot on goal.
Moving on to play No. 1 seed Florida Gulf Coast on Friday, the Bisons reach the semifinal round for the third time in program history. Lipscomb handed FGCU its only conference loss with a 3-1 victory.
Friday’s contest kicks off at 6 p.m. in Ft. Myers and can be seen free on ASun.TV.