NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For just the second time in its seven years of existence the Lipscomb men’s soccer team was crowned champions of the Hyatt Place Select Lipscomb Invitational on Sunday.
“We have been close to winning our tournament several times, so for this to only be our second time is kind of a sore spot,” Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow said. “We always have a tough field in the invite and we build it that way because we are trying to get ourselves prepared for conference play.
“To win the tournament against the field we had this year really says a lot. Although it is certainly nice to win your own tournament, that is not what we are aiming for. We want to be the last team standing in the country when the season ends. That is our final goal.”
Coming into the tournament Lipscomb knew it had to play some of its best soccer of the year to win the crown against a loaded field that featured Memphis, Houston Baptist and Belmont.
But what the Bisons did over that two-game stretch was nothing short of impressive.
Lipscomb opened tournament play with a 4-1 win over Houston Baptist on Wednesday and then came from behind in dramatic fashion to topple Memphis 4-3 Friday night in front of over 1,200 onlookers.
“Both of our wins were truly team performances,” Morrow said. “The depth and availability is something our team takes pride in, knowing that we don’t have to rely on one person to produce. When mistakes were made, guys picked each other up.
“It is difficult to not get down after going down two scores early to a team like Memphis. So for us to come back and fight like we did, I just can’t say enough about our confidence and belief right now.
It marked the first time in Morrow’s tenure his team scored four goals in back-to-back matches.
But what was even more impressive than that was seven different Bisons recorded a goal and five recorded an assist.
“The most impressive thing to me about Friday night was not that we beat Memphis, but that we came from behind to beat Memphis when they had the fresh legs and we had just played 48 hours earlier,” said Morrow. “That can’t be understated. To play twice in two days takes such a toll on your body.
“Just looking forward to the conference tournament it will be huge for us knowing our style of play is that we don’t just rely on physical abilities. That is going to be conducive to a tournament setting and will give us confidence that we can go in and win two or three games in a row.”
With more than a handful to choose from there could have been multiple tournament MVP’s, but it was awarded to junior midfielder Josue Chavez after netting two goals and collecting one assist.
“Josue is someone who is very capable,” Morrow said. “His freshman year he was right on the cusp of being able to do some unbelievable things and right now he is putting the final pieces together.
“He has been playing great his entire career so it is nice to see him get recognized for all of the hard work he has put in. But there are also a lot of other guys on the team that I could say that about too. But ‘Sway’ has been dangerous for a while and we can’t wait to see what he does for us the rest of the year.”
Chavez was also named the Atlantic Sun Men’s Soccer Player of the Week for his efforts on the pitch; the first time in his career he has taken home that honor.
There were a number phenomenal performances for Lipscomb over the weekend besides the show Chavez put on.
Freshman Ivan Alvarado netted his first career goal and served up three assists, while junior midfielder Anthony Cedano tallied two assists against Memphis and scored a goal against Houston Baptist.
Senior Omar Djabi recorded three points with a goal and an assist, freshman Jonathan Ramirez sparked the comeback against Memphis with his first career goal and first career assist.
Senior Luke Gearin and redshirt junior Matt Kerridge each added a goal to push their season totals to four and move into a tie for first in the A-Sun in goals scored this season.
“There could have been any number of guys on the All-Tournament team and it’s not fair that we could only choose four,” Morrow said. “Anthony (Cedano) played spectacular this weekend. He had a goal and two assists as a holding midfielder. Matt Kerridge scored a goal. Luke Gearin scored a goal.
“Obviously we had to pick guys for the team, but really it is everyone.”
Once the votes were tallied just four Bisons were named to the All-Tournament Team - Chavez, Alvarado, Ramirez and Gearin.
After picking up the two wins in the invite Lipscomb is now off to its best start in school history, sitting at 6-1.
The Bisons have scored two-plus goals in every match this season except one; the 1-0 loss to James Madison.
Lipscomb gets a few days off before returning to the pitch Friday Sept. 26 to host Georgia State at 7 p.m.
7th Annual Hyatt Place Select Lipscomb Invitational
Order of Finish:
1 - Lipscomb
2 - Memphis
3 - Houston Baptist
Josue Chavez (MVP) - Lipscomb
Ivan Alvarado - Lipscomb
Luke Gearin - Lipscomb
Jonathan Ramirez - Lipscomb
Raul Gonzalez - Memphis
Hector Cantelle - Memphis
Codi Uzcategui - Memphis
Miguel Zapata - Houston Baptist
Stefan Lamanna - Houston Baptist
Adriano Balani - Belmont
Rashad Hyacenth - Belmont