NASHVILLE , Tenn. - Paced by two goals from junior defender Luke Gearin, the Lipscomb men’s soccer team cruised to a 4-1 victory in exhibition play over Martin Methodist on Friday night at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
“I thought the team showed well tonight,” said head coach Charles Morrow. “We came out and did a good job defensively against a pretty technical Martin Methodist team.”
“Their resolve to pressure the ball, I thought was the difference in the game," Morrow said. "There were times they came out and tried to press us and I thought our guys did a good job of being able to play out of that pressure.”
With freshman goalkeeper Micah Bledsoe getting the nod for the Bisons to defend the net, the Redhawks went right at him scoring on their first shot attempt. At the 29:14 mark, sophomore forward Sean Dong put the ball in the back of the net on an assist from Juan Madrigal. That would be the only goal for Martin Methodist on the night.
For the rest of the match, Lipscomb held the ball for most of the night and was very balanced by getting eight shot attempts in each half. For the game, the Bisons out-shot their opponents 16-4.
Gearin started the scoring for the Bisons when his first goal found the net just under the 24 minute mark. Coach Morrow was impressed with what he saw from his veteran tonight.
“The first goal from Luke was just a head’s up play knowing the walls had been set,” said Morrow. “The PK was well taken and you have to credit the guys who won that kick for us.”
Midfielder Matt Kerridge got in on the action in the 19th minute with a goal after the ball was fumbled between three players before falling at his feet. After a slight pushing match between the two teams, both defenses tightened up and the half ended with a Lipscomb lead 2-1.
Exhibition play is always a good time for younger guys to get much needed experience, and that was just the plan Morrow had coming in to the game.
“It is a great time to see the guys who are vying for those first team and travel team spots and tonight I thought we accomplished just that,” said Morrow.
At the 31 minute mark of the second period, Gearin found his way into the box and just missed with a header off the crossbar. Those couple of inches would later be all that stood between Gearin and a hat trick.
Midway through the second period, Gearin received a well lofted pass just inside the box, but was tripped up before getting a shot off, thus welcoming a penalty kick opportunity. The junior from Australia placed the kick in the right side of the goal to push the Bisons lead to 3-1 with his second goal of the match.
Zack Tarbox tallied the final goal of the night with just 49 seconds remaining. With the first exhibition match under his belt, Morrow likes what he saw, but still believes there is more work to be done in order to make this season a success.
“I thought we did a good job of pressuring the ball tonight, but our defensive organization has to continue to improve,” Morrow said.
With the first exhibition in the books, the Bisons now look forward to next Thursday when the University of Alabama-Huntsville makes the trek to Nashville. That game will be played at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex at 7:00 p.m.