After losing to ETSU 3-0 Friday night, the Bisons had to win or tie against USC Upstate Sunday afternoon in Spartanburg, S.C., in order to receive their third consecutive Atlantic Sun Tournament bid. If Upstate’s Spartans had won the game they would have received the last bid.
The Bisons delivered with a 2-1 win and will face No. 3-seeded ETSU Saturday at 2 p.m. in Johnson City in the first round of the tournament. The winner will advance to the semifinals on Nov. 12 in Buies Creek, N.C.
“We are the sixth seed, but if we had won Friday too we would have been the third seed,” said Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow. “There were several weekends where we thought we left points on the table.
“Winning on the road the last weekend of the season was not the way we wanted to do it. I don’t the pressure hurts us. I liked the sense of urgency that an elimination game gives us.”
Morrow likes the parity of the conference. He thinks that will be a plus as the Bisons challenge for the tournament title.
“We have felt for awhile that we could do some damage if we got in,” said Morrow. “We are looking forward to Saturday. This year the teams are closer. There is more parity than there has ever been in the conference.
“ETSU is fresh on our memories. We don’t feel like we played up to our abilities. We like the match-up. It should be a good game.”
Morrow was quick to point out that ETSU can cause the Bisons more than their share of problems.
“”ETSU possesses the ball well,” said Morrow. “They have a couple of forwards that can cause problems. They have some dangerous wide players.”
Sophomore Evan McGee put the Bisons on the board first scoring his first goal of the season in the 12th minute on a through ball assisted by Garrett McLaughlin.
“I think Evan was the key to our playing well in the first half,” said Morrow. “He was probably the player of the game.
“He did such a good job of holding the ball up top for us. He was able to make passes to get guys involved in the attack. He slowed things up and made it possible for us to keep possession and get into the back third more than we have.”
Junior Miguel DaSilva scored what proved to be the game-winning goal just before halftime on a through ball over the defense assisted by Garrett Pettis.
Lipscomb outshot USC Upstate 10-3 in the first half, but the Spartans outshot Lipscomb 10-6 in the second half.
“We played a good first half, but we didn’t play well in the second half,” said Morrow. “I think everyone on our team knows what it is like to play in an elimination game.”
USC Upstate’s Maurice Beggs made it a 2-1 game when he scored from 10 yards out in the 53rd minute.
Lipscomb goalkeeper Brent McGee made three saves, all in the second half, to secure the win for the Bisons.
The Bisons improve to 6-9-3 on the season and finishes A-Sun play at 3-4-2. USC Upstate is 5-9-2, 2-5-2 in the A-Sun.