NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After a tie-filled weekend at the Hyatt Place Brentwood Invitational, Lipscomb’s men’s soccer team will be on the road for the Bisons final two non-conference games. Lipscomb will play Eastern Illinois, Thursday, at 4:30 p.m. in Charleston before making the drive down I-70 for a Saturday tilt with Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, at 7 p.m.
The Bisons offense, and specifically senior Garret Pettis, got back on track last weekend; Pettis scored all three Lipscomb goals last weekend, doubling the Bisons output leading up to the weekend in six matches.
Pettis scored twice Friday in a 2-2 tie with IPFW, and added one more in Sunday’s 1-1 tie against Bowling Green. The Elizabethtown, Pa., native was named all-tournament for his efforts.
While the Bisons offense has been slowly rounding into shape, a young defense has been finding its way as the last line of defense in front of goalkeeper Brent McGee. Freshmen Ben Gates and Omar Djabi have been two of the Bisons best defenders in the early parts of 2011, leading the team in minutes played and locking up the opponents top offensive threats.
Eastern Illinois spent last weekend at the Green Bay Soccer Classic, knocking off Dayton, 1-0, and losing to Niagara, 2-0; the Niagara loss was the first time this season the Panthers were shutout.
The Panthers are currently going through a youth movement; Eastern Illinois’ top four scorers are all freshmen (led by Jake Brillhart and Garet Christianson with three goals apiece), and sophomore Tyler Kelley earned the shutout of Dayton last weekend.
SIU-Edwardsville, in just its fourth season on the Division I level, has already climbed to the top of the Missouri Valley Conference in soccer, finishing second to Creighton in 2010.
Last week, the Cougars lost to Illinois-Chicago, 3-2 in two overtimes, before earning a tie with Wisconsin. The match-up between Lipscomb and SIU-Edwardsville seems almost preordained to be a double-overtime classic; Lipscomb’s last two matches have gone into double overtime, while SIU-Edwardsville has played two extra periods in their last three matches.
Led by Jack Twellman’s five goals, the Cougar offense has conspired to keep SIU-Edwardsville in every match this season; SIU-Edwardsville hasn’t been shut out since Sep. 1 against Green Bay.
Lipscomb will begin its quest for the Atlantic Sun tournament following this weekend, traveling to USC Upstate (Sep. 30, 6 p.m.) and ETSU (Oct. 2, 12 noon) during the first weekend of A-Sun play.
Check back on Lipscombsports.com for more information on the Bison soccer team, and be sure to follow us on Twitter (@LUMSoccer) and like us on Facebook (Lipscomb University Men’s Soccer Team).
- ETSU (6-1-0) leads the A-Sun going into the last weekend of non-conference play; the Bucs are ranked 22nd by both Soccer America and Goal.com, and are the highest vote-getter not ranked in the NSCAA poll with 28 votes.
- ETSU (third), Florida Gulf Coast (sixth) and Belmont (receiving votes) represented the A-Sun in this week’s NSCAA South Region poll.
- Belmont, winner of three straight entering the weekend, has rebounded from its 1-3 start to take over second in the A-Sun at 4-3-0. The Bruins Brandon Tarr leads the conference in points (11) and is tied for the lead in goals (five); Lipscomb’s Garret Pettis is tied for fourth with three goals.
- Lipscomb is tied with Belmont for the A-Sun lead with 17 yellow cards, paced by Isaac Pile’s three cautions.
- Pettis is tied for the conference lead with 20 shots and fourth in goals with three.
- Brent McGee is second in the conference with 34 saves; that mark places him 14th in the nation entering the weekend.