|September 28, 2016||1st||2nd||1OT||2OT||Final|
|LIP||22:31||CHAVEZ, Josue (INNES, Trystan )|
|UK||69:19||Kaelon Fox (Charlie Reymann )|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||UK|
|Shots (on Goal)||15 (2)||18 (7)|
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Facing its first ranked opponent of the season the Lipscomb men’s soccer team battled #20 Kentucky to a 1-1 draw on the road Wednesday night at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex.
“With as well as our guys played tonight, this was a game that was very winnable,” head coach Charles Morrow said. “I thought we fought hard, the backline was great and we got good goalkeeping.”
After an early defensive battle where both teams struggled to find any rhythm, it was the Bisons who started throwing the first round of attacks. In a span of just three minutes Lipscomb managed to reel off a string of six straight shots that ended with redshirt senior Josue Chavez finding the back of the net on a beautiful curler that was worthy of making the SportsCenter Top 10.
His goal gave the Bisons a 1-0 lead at the half against the eighth-best scoring defense in the country.
“We were dangerous in the attacking third,” Morrow said. “We were able to create a lot of scoring chances throughout the match and put a lot of pressure on their defense.”
After a 15-minute breather it was Kentucky’s turn as the Wildcats began pushing guys forward in search of an equalizer.
UK took advantage of a crowded box in the 70th minute on a corner kick and put the match back on level terms off a header from Kealon Fox.
With less than three minutes remaining Ivan Sakou nearly sent the Bisons home with their third-ever win over a ranked team. The junior forward put a nice touch on the ball with a bicycle kick, but the ball trickled just outside the post.
Both teams had scoring chances in overtime, but it was Kentucky who was afforded one of the best opportunities of the night midway through the first session. After beating the Bisons to the end line, the Wildcats rolled a ball freely across the 6-yard box where a sliding Andrew Mckelvey got a foot on it and sent it just wide of the left post to keep the match level at 1-1.
“I thought we played very sound defensively,” Morrow said. “Certainly there are some things that we could have done better on the night, but we are very encouraged by what we saw.”
Perhaps the story of the night belonged to Lipscomb’s goalkeeper Christopher Zappia, who was seeing his first action of the season. In only his second career start the sophomore came up huge for the Bisons time after time. While facing a flurry of shots from all angles, Zappia held his ground and finished the night with a career high-tying six saves.
“Chris is a very capable goalkeeper and he played great tonight,” Morrow said. “He is a guy who has been right there with Micah (Bledsoe) and tonight was an opportunity to give him some experience in a big game.”
Coach Morrow used the nonconference match to get some guys a breather after a tough stretch of games to open the season. He needs his team at full strength as the meat of the conference schedule is just around the corner.
“We didn’t take Kentucky lightly by any means, but we thought this was a good match to get some of our guys some rest,” Morrow said. “When we are playing a midweek game and then a game on the weekend, there aren’t many opportunities to get some guys a breather or for them to recoup.
“But to be able to rest a few like we did it was awesome to come away with a result.”
Lipscomb moved to 5-3-1 with the decision while Kentucky goes to 5-2-2.
LIPSCOMB: Chavez looked like his old self in the 23rd minute when the senior curled a perfect ball and buried it just inside the upper right corner from the top of the box, giving the UK keeper no chance. Jonathan Ramirez played a ball from the right sideline to Trystan Innes in the middle of the pitch, who then headed it to the feet of Chavez for his first career assist.
“Tonight was sort of the first glimpse of the old Sway,” Morrow said. “He has been battling injuries the last couple of seasons, but tonight was really good from him.”
KENTUCKY: The Wildcats responded in the 70th minute when a corner kick found Kaelon Fox inside the 6-yard box for a header that deflected off Eduardo Reza’s ankle and into the back of the net.
- Kentucky outshot Lipscomb 18-15.
- Wednesday’s match was the fourth overtime game of the season for the Bisons, including the third in the last four matches. Lipscomb is 1-2-1 in extra time.
- For just the second time this season the Bisons failed to win more corner kicks (9-1) than their foes. Mercer was the only other instance.
- Lipscomb still has yet to concede a first-half goal this season. It has outscored the opponents 6-0 in the opening 45 minutes.
- Zappia’s six saves match a season high for the Bisons in net. Micah Bledsoe came up with six last weekend against Jacksonville.
- Scout Monteith paced the Lipscomb offense with three shot attempts. Five others followed with two each.
The Bisons have another big matchup looming this weekend when they travel to Jacksonville, Florida to take on the North Florida Ospreys in a 6 p.m. tilt. It will be a rematch of the 2015 ASUN Semifinals in which UNF advanced on a rebounded PK in the last minute of double overtime.
“We have a tall task this weekend at North Florida,” Morrow said. “They have had a full week of rest and will be hungry to get back on the winning track after suffering a loss the last time out. But we feel good about this group and this performance, so now we just want to keep carrying it over and getting better.”