|September 03, 2015||1st||2nd||Final|
|Stats at a Glance||XU||LIP|
|Shots (on Goal)||13 (8)||6 (4)|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After dropping its first two contests of the season, the Lipscomb men’s soccer team used a total-team effort Thursday night to upset the No. 10-ranked Xavier Musketeers at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
“The story of the night was not the game that was played tonight,” head coach Charles Morrow said. “It was the response of what was an awful start to the season last weekend. This week during training we questioned the guys’ character and their mentality, but their performance tonight speaks for itself in terms of their response to us.
“For a team to be at the lowest of lows and within a week come together like that did tonight is fantastic to see. It says a lot about our guys, not only as soccer players, but more about who they are as people. I cannot be more proud of this group after the game they played tonight.”
Not only did the victory mark the first win over a top-10 program for the Bisons (1-2), it was also the first win of 2015.
Xavier (2-1) went on top, 1-0, in the 21st minute when senior midfielder Alex Ridsdale buried a penalty kick under the diving keeper after the Bisons were whistled for a penalty in the box as two players jockeyed for possession.
Watching Xavier celebrate its go-ahead goal provided a spark that Lipscomb has desperately been searching for early on this season as it was just three minutes later that junior Daniel Vieira found an equalizer off the far post on a rebounded free-kick.
“I saw they (Xavier) weren’t going to get a good clearance on the ball, so I made a run behind the defender and the ball was hit straight there,” Vieira said. “It was on my left foot, which is my weaker foot, so I just wanted to get it in front of the goal so hopefully a teammate would connect, but it just rolled in.”
The score was Vieira’s first-career goal as a Bison.
With the momentum swinging in the Bisons’ favor, sophomore Ivan Alvarado put his team on top for good in the 27th minute. The Atlantic Sun Preseason All-Conference selection picked up a ball outside the box and rocketed a low-hard liner into the upper 90 from 25 yards out.
“Our response after giving up a PK was class,” Alvarado said. “We all kept our heads in the game and communicated with each other and that helped us get right back into the game.
“I had a feeling that my time was coming and fortunately I was able to put the ball exactly where I wanted it to be. The emotion that is brought out when you score is an incredible feeling- the best feeling in the world.”
It was Alvarado’s second goal of the season proved to be the game-winner.
Xavier seemed to control much of the possession the remainder of the game, but goaltender Micah Bledsoe and the Bisons’ defense tightened up to keep the nation’s top-ranked offense off the board in the final 65 minutes.
Bledsoe was under fire all night, but time-after-time the junior came up with fantastic stops. The Ohio native recorded a season-high seven saves and picked up his 12th career win between the pipes.
“You can talk about a number of guys, but without the play of Micah we would have been in trouble tonight,” Morrow said. “He made a couple of big saves for us that kept us in the game and ahead of Xavier. He played a great game.”
With about 24 minutes remaining in the match, lightning struck in the area and the game was halted for a half-hour. Once play resumed Xavier brought its offense forward in search of an equalizer. The change in pace nearly paid off for the Musketeers as they fired off four shot attempts and four corner kicks in the final 21 minutes , but Lipscomb’s backline dug in and recorded its first shutout of the season.
“I feel like this win will set the tone for us going forward, it is only the beginning,” Alvarado said.
- Lipscomb’s first goal halted a 203:25 scoreless streak by Xavier’s defense to start the season.
- With the win the Bisons have now beaten XU in back-to-back seasons to tie up the all-time series 2-2.
- Vieira made his first-career start for the Purple and Gold and played the full 90 minutes. His previous single-game high was 38 minutes.
- Bledsoe’s seven saves were just one shy of tying his career high of eight which came as a freshman on Nov. 9, 2013 against Mercer.
- UCF transfer Brandon Braumuller made his first-career start at Lipscomb, playing 41 minutes and attempting a shot.
- Six different Bisons attempted a shot on the night, putting four on frame.
- Lipscomb was outshot 13-6 and trailed in the corner-kick advantage 11-5.
- It’s the first win over a top-25 opponent for any Atlantic Sun Conference team this season.
- Each team played the final 44:48 a man down after a brief scuffle resulted in two red cards being handed out.
Lipscomb returns to action on Friday, Sept. 11 when it takes on former Atlantic Sun foe Campbell in a 3:30 p.m. tilt in the Belmont Invitational at Rose Park.
“This is not the end of our season,” Morrow said. “This win can’t be the story of the year for us. It can be a turning point to where our guys build belief and buy-in and come together as a group.”