Thursday night at 7 the Bisons will welcome the Belmont Bruins for the men’s soccer version of the “Battle of the Boulevard”. The game traditionally attracts a crowd of approximately 1,000 fans.
“There is a lot of build up and a lot of bragging rights for different people,” said Morrow. “All the things that go along with it make it a more difficult game to play.
“It is a fun game. The guys look forward to it. But from a coaching standpoint it is one of those games where you worry how your guys will respond to the distraction of everything else that goes along with it.”
Belmont holds an 8-3-2 edge in the series. However, Belmont has not won in the last four meetings. Last season the game ended in a 1-1 tie. In 2007 the Bisons won 1-0 Nov. 14 and tied 0-0 Sept. 28. In 2006 the Bisons won 2-0.
In their last two games the Bisons, 4-8-3 overall, 1-3-2 in the A-Sun, have tied North Florida 2-2 and beaten Jacksonville 1-0. Belmont, 3-10-1, 2-4-0 in the conference, beat Jacksonville 2-1 in overtime and beat North Florida 4-1.
“We are playing well,” said Morrow. “Jacksonville is one of the better teams we have played all year, and their record certainly doesn’t indicate that. Jacksonville is a talented team. For us to be able to shut them out and eliminate some mistakes we have made in past games was big.”
The offense has started to wake up on some levels. Junior forward Miguel DaSilva has four goals and 11 points to lead the team, including one this past weekend.
“The offense is starting to get going,” said Morrow. “Now would be the time for it to really get hot.”
Belmont is led by forward Brandon Tarr with 17 points and eight goals.
The Bisons are still in the hunt for a berth in the A-Sun Tournament. This is, however, the last regular season home game for defender Kezi Lara.
“The year that Kezi came here was a turning point for our program,” said Morrow. “The year Kezi came here we didn’t have a player on the team that had ever beaten Belmont. Now four years later with Kezi graduating we don’t have a player on our team who has lost to Belmont at this point.
“He has added a lot of talent and ability, but also credibility as well. When teams look at us Kezi is certainly someone they have to contend with.”
Lara will be honored in “Senior” Night activities.
The game is the centerpiece of a number of festivities. Lipscomb fans will be given black T-shirts to wear as part of a “black out” for the game. A live band, barbecue from Martin’s barbecue, the Red Bull game tent and other activities are planned. A suggested admission price of $2 will be accepted at the gate with the money earmarked for Youth Encouragement Services.
“It should be a good time,” said Morrow. “We want to invite everyone to be a part of this.”