That is way that Lipscomb Bisons soccer coach Charles Morrow is approaching Thursday night’s Atlantic Sun Tournament semifinals match with ETSU. Admittedly, there is a lot of past to forget. The Bisons have lost their last three meetings with ETSU, including a 2-1 overtime decision in Nashville Oct. 24. Last season in the A-Sun Tournament quarterfinals the Bisons lost 3-0 here in Johnson City at the Summers-Taylor Stadium.
The semifinal round has not been kind to the Bisons either. This is their third time in four tournament appearances to advance to the semifinals. They have lost their previous two times.
“I think last year was last year,” Morrow said. “It is not really relevant. This year is totally different.
“We have a different team than we had last year. We are even playing differently now than we did when we played ETSU the first time this season.”
Morrow has said many times since the overtime loss to the ETSU that he would like to have the chance to play them again. The Bisons, 10-8, 5-4, entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed. ETSU, 13-5, 7-2, is the No. 1 seed. The Bisons advanced with a 5-1 quarterfinals win over Campbell Saturday.
“The first go-around with ETSU was a tough situation for us,” Morrow said. “We felt like we didn’t give ETSU our best. We had some internal issues with the team that forced us to change our line-up.
“We had a good bit of momentum going into that game. It was good that we learned from it, but we see it as a bump in the road. We are a different team now than we were that day.”
In the other semifinal game No. 6-seed Jacksonville, 3-5-1, 9-8-2, will face No. 2 seed Stetson, 6-2-1, 9-3-2, at 3 p.m.
“Our guys like playing at ETSU,” Morrow said. “The field has a good surface. They generally get pretty good crowd support.
“We certainly expect a big turnout. ETSU fans are passionate about their athletic programs which is good. I think it will be a good environment to play in. We have been in hostile environments before. Our guys usually play better in situations like that.”
Game time Thursday night is 6 p.m. Central. The game will be available on A-Sun TV. For live stats click here.
The Bisons, winners of six of their last eight games, have been going deeper on the bench the past couple of weeks. Morrow admits he isn’t certain how many players will get game time against ETSU.
“Every game is different,” Morrow said. “But I think one of our strengths is our numbers and the number of talented players that we have. Through the past few weeks it has been good to be able to play more numbers and gain confidence with what those guys can do in game situations. That has been a positive for us.”
Morrow likes the way his Bisons match-up with ETSU.
“I like the way that our forwards match up against their backs,” Morrow said. “They will see a lot of forwards…more forwards than they did the first time we played them.”
Dealing with ETSU in the midfield will be the biggest challenge.
“They are tough and talented in midfield and they have a lot of numbers,” Morrow said. “A lot of teams crowd the midfield because they don’t have dominant players. ETSU has good players. At times that makes them difficult to break down.
“There are a lot of things we could worry about when planning for ETSU .But I think our focus is on us and what we need to be doing.”
Lipscomb forwards Garret Pettis and Miguel DaSilva each has eight goals. They are tied for second overall in the conference in goals. They are also tied for 45th nationally in goals.
Midfielder Joey Chiappetta is tied for fourth in the conference overall with seven assists. He is 41st in the NCAA rankings.
The Bisons are ranked 15th in the NCAA in total goals with 35. They are also 25th in scoring offense (1.94).
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.