Nov. 14, 2007
DELAND, Fla. _ The philosophy of Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow was to treat the Bisons first ever Atlantic Sun Tournament game as just another game, but in the end it proved to be far more.
The Bisons scored in the quarterfinal game on a penalty kick by senior forward Ben Page at the 16:22 mark of the first half and held on for a 1-0 win over Belmont on a spring-like Wednesday night on the soccer field at tournament host Stetson University.
Gardner-Webb won the championship in 2006 in its first year to qualify for the conference tournament. The No. 4 seed has won the quarterfinal match five of the last six years. The last time a No. 4 advanced to the finals was in 2002 when Stetson accomplished the feat.
"Obviously, it was great to get the win," Morrow said. "We deserved it based on the way we fought and the way we were organized defensively."
Belmont attempted 16 shots, including six shots on goal. Senior Lipscomb goalkeeper Jake Goergen earned his fourth shutout, a new school record for a season. The Bisons attempted only three shots on goal.
"We said coming into the game that we would be all right as long as we didn't let Belmont get behind us attacking-wise. We had to defend like mad men. We wanted to make sure every shot was contested and that every header in our defensive third of the field was contested. We knew if we did those things they weren't going to score on us."
The Bisons, who entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed, will face Jacksonville, the No. 1 seed Thursday afternoon at 3 CT. The Bisons lost 3-0 to Jacksonville Oct. 26 at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
"It's good to face Jacksonville again," Morrow said. "We didn't have Garrett McLaughlin in that game.
"We feel good about it. From a style standpoint we match up better with them than Belmont."
Forward Miguel DaSilva, a unanimous selection to the A-Sun All-Freshman Team, drew the penalty that resulted in what proved to be the game-winning kick by Page.
The Bisons were passing the ball around the box and DaSilva was about to put a shot away when a Belmont player dragged him to the ground. Page then beat Belmont goalkeeper Ron Gravely to the lower right side of the net.
"I took the responsibility as a senior and I put the shot away for the team," Page said. "You have to have confidence on penalty kicks. You have to know you are going to score. Sometime that confidence seems to find the back of the net."
It was fitting that Page, a First-Team All-Conference selection this season, made the penalty kick, his second of the season. His last was against Campbell in a 3-2 win Oct. 13.
"When Ben stepped up to take it we said this is exactly what he needs to be on this kind of stage and have this type of opportunity," Morrow said.
Morrow was also confident that Page would be successful on the play.
"For him there is confidence in him knowing that he made a lot of them," Morrow said. "I don't think he has missed one in the three years I have been here.
"He puts in the time and effort to work on them. He always works on them at practice."
The Bisons had battled Belmont to a 0-0 tie at Lipscomb Sept. 28. Morrow did not relish facing them for a second "Battle of the Boulevard" in the first round of the tournament.
"Belmont is a handful," Morrow said. "They beat Furman which was No, 16 in the country at the time. That was no fluke whatsoever. Belmont is very effective in what they do.
"They were the one team coming into the tournament that I wanted to play the least. They give us a lot of problems because they play so physical and they play a different style than us. I feel fortunate that we came away with it because of the rivalry and because conference tournament games can go either way."
The Bisons are 6-11-3. Belmont ended the season 7-11-2.