SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Inching closer to the Atlantic Sun championship, the Lipscomb men’s soccer team needed a win to clinch a berth in next month’s tournament. The Bisons scored early in the second period and held on to win 1-0 on the road at USC Upstate to do just that.
With the berth Lipscomb extends their A-Sun leading, active consecutive tournament appearance streak by making it seven straight seasons.
The win propelled the Bisons to 8-6-1, 4-2 in the A-Sun and put them into a tie with ETSU for second place with 12 points.
Upstate fell to 1-9-2, 1-4-1.
“Anytime you can get a road win in the conference it is huge,” coach Charles Morrow said. “It gets us back into second place and playing for that bye in the conference tournament next month.”
The two teams played to a scoreless first half, although the Bisons missed a couple good looks.
The Bisons defense picked up its tempo in the second period and barely allowed the Spartans to get any looks at the net. Lipscomb held Upstate to just one shot in the second period and five for the game, while Lipscomb managed 17 on the night.
In the 50th minute Lipscomb was awarded a corner kick, one of eight for the game. Matt Kerridge played the ball in to the midfield for Robbie Johnson. Stepping into the ball, Johnson kicked a high-arching ball into the box when Scout Monteith leaped and headed the ball over the goalkeeper for his first career goal and a 1-0 Lipscomb lead.
Kerridge and Johnson were credited with the assists.
The Bisons played tight defense for the remainder of the game and held the Spartans scoreless for the fifth shutout of the season for Lipscomb, including four in the last seven matches.
Although Lipscomb has created many scoring opportunities lately, numerous goals have been left on the field.
“We moved the ball well,” Morrow said. “But we still need to become more potent in the attacking third to score more goals. It is something we can work and build on going forward.”
Micah Bledsoe saved three shots for the Bisons and was credited with the fourth shutout of his freshman campaign. That number ties Jake Goergen’s total in 2007 for the most in a single season in Lipscomb history.
Dani Alvarado grabbed five saves in 90 minutes of play and dropped his record to 0-6-1 in front of the net for the Spartans.
“I feel happy about the win,” Morrow said. “It was just a great team win.”
The Bisons play their final nonconference matchup on Tuesday when Evansville makes its way to the Lipscomb Soccer Complex. Game time is set for 7 p.m.
“We are already looking forward to our game’s this next week with Evansville,” Morrow said. “Our big goal is upcoming next weekend with ETSU, who we are tied with in the A-Sun standings.”