|November 01, 2014||1st||2nd||Final|
Florida Gulf Coast
|LIP||17:54||Johnson, Robbie (Djabi, Omar )|
|LIP||59:31||Alvarado, Ivan (Chavez, Josue , Holcombe, Reece)|
|Stats at a Glance||FGCU||LIP|
|Shots (on Goal)||11 (3)||10 (5)|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb men’s soccer team kept its Atlantic Sun Championship hopes alive in its home finale by sending Florida Gulf Coast back home with a 2-1 loss on a frigid Saturday night at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
Entering the match Lipscomb needed a win coupled with a Stetson loss at Northern Kentucky to stay alive in its pursuit of claiming its first-ever A-Sun title and the right to host the confernce tournament in two weeks. Stetson fell to NKU in two overtimes, 1-0. Now the Bisons must win their regular season finale at Jacksonville next Saturday to earn the No. 1 seed.
“Tonight’s win was huge for us,” Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow said. “When you beat one of the top teams in the conference it gives you belief and confidence and that goes a long way.
“It also helps us in our run to win the conference, especially knowing the result at NKU. For us to also win this game on senior night was spectacular. I couldn’t say enough about what this group of seniors has done for this program. They really deserved this win.”
Before the game the 2014 senior class – Luke Gearin, Zander El-Hindi, Robbie Johnson and Omar Djabi were honored as it was the last regular season home match of their careers.
With the win the Bisons improve to 11-3-1 overall and set the school record for wins in a season. Lipscomb is 3-1-1 in league play. The Eagles fall to 5-6-4, 3-1-1 in the A-Sun.
Johnson had gone the first 63 games of his career without recording a goal, but 64 was his lucky number.
In front of friends and family on senior night the left-footed defender used a header to beat the keeper and put the Bisons up 1-0 in the 18th minute. Fellow senior Omar Djabi lofted a perfectly-placed set piece to Johnson for his sixth assist of the season.
“Omar’s service was tremendous,” Morrow said. “And for Robbie to be on the other end of it on senior night was fitting. He has had countless opportunities for it to go in over his four years here, but for him to stick it into the net tonight was awesome.”
Unfortunately that advantage did not last.
Just 21 seconds Lipscomb coughed up the lead when Henry Penagos found a rebounded shot sent it to the left of goalkeeper Nate Davis for the equalizer.
In the 60th minute junior Reece Holcombe made a spectacular one-on-one run into the box from midfield to put the pressure on FGCU’s defense.
After being turned away, Holcombe worked the ball across the box to Josue Chavez and then on to Ivan Alvarado just inside the top of the box. From 15 yards out with defenders swarming him and moving to his left, Alvarado curled a shot inside the far post for his third career score.
On the road and playing in front of a hostile Bisons crowd, FGCU would not go down easy.
With just four minutes remaining in the match FGCU’s Arion Sobers-Assue thought he found an equalizer but the A-Sun Preseason Defender of the Year, senior Luke Gearin, cleared the ball off the goal line to preserve the must-need win for the Purple and Gold.
“It was a great performance and we are excited for what’s ahead, but we can’t look to far down the road because we know we have to take care of business at Jacksonville next weekend.
“They are a tough team. They beat Stetson so that shows you they are a capable team. We have to get back to work to prepare ourselves, but we are going to enjoy this one tonight.”
The loss was just the fourth for the Eagles in A-Sun regular-season matches since the start of the 2010 season, a stretch of 38 games. All four losses have come on the road.
Davis improves to 9-1-1 in the net for Lipscomb in his freshman campaign. He came away with two saves in the victory.
With over $700 taken in at the gate Saturday, the Bisons reach their goal of $1,500 for Coaches vs. Cancer.
“Our guys have worked hard to raise money for the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative,” Morrow said. “They are out before games and the weeks leading up to tonight trying to sell tickets and collect donations. They were also getting the word out about this game and that is great to have that fan support.
“We just want to say thank you to all those who donated and gave up their support. Coaches vs. Cancer is a great thing and it’s good for us to give back to something bigger than soccer.”
- Lipscomb did clinch a berth in the A-Sun Tournament for the 8th straight season - the longest active streak in the league.
- Lipscomb now trails FGCU 6-3 in the all-time series and has won back-to-back meetings in Nashville.
- FGCU outshot LU 11-10; however it was the Bisons who held the advantage in shots on goal, 5-3.
- Lipscomb now has won four matches in a row.
- The win streak is the longest since winning four Nov. 8-22 in 2010.
- With Johnson’s strike, nine Bisons have now scored a goal this season.
- Holcombe and Chavez improve their assist totals to four and three, respectively.
- Alvarado led the team in shots (4) and SOG (2).
- Saturday’s win marked the fourth game this season Lipscomb recorded 3-plus assists.
- Lipscomb now leads the A-Sun with 31 goals scored. It also leads the league with 28 assists.
- The 21 goals allowed are the second-fewest in the A-Sun. FGCU has allowed just 14.
The Bisons travel to Jacksonville, Florida next Saturday on Nov. 8, with the chance to stake its claim on the program’s first-ever A-Sun regular season championship. Kickoff with the Dolphins is set for 6 p.m. CT.
“We are looking forward to getting back to work so we can bring a championship back here to Lipscomb,” Morrow said.