|August 12, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|LOU||11:39||Cherif Dieye (Izaiah Jennings )|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||LOU|
|Shots (on Goal)||6 (2)||13 (4)|
Just a mere two days away from its first exhibition game of the 2017 season, the Lipscomb men’s soccer team opened fall camp with a high intensity, early morning training session.
After a Tuesday media day and a Wednesday conditioning test, head coach Charles Morrow was ready to see his guys on the pitch.
“The one feeling that’s always the same the first day back, is just an excitement to get back working with the guys,” Morrow said. “I’ve missed the group over the summer, and I’ve been looking forward to today for a while, as they have.”
As Morrow enters his 13th season at the helm of the program, the expectations are high for a group who won 10 games a year ago. Returning 17 players, the team is loaded with upperclassmen as 10 seniors and 4 juniors will suit up for the Bisons in 2017.
While they will return quite a bit of experience, the Bisons will also return a large chunk of production. Players who scored 27 of the 31 goals the Bisons netted will return next season as well as almost 80% of the minutes played.
The team-leader in goals last season with 11, junior Logan Paynter, is a captain this year. He too had been eagerly anticipating the first practice today.
“Today was really good,” Paynter said. “We’ve just been waiting for this moment. It gets really built up, and you just want to play. You finally get there, and everyone is really excited and the energy is really high. Today was no different. Today was really good actually. It was exciting and a lot of fun today.”
Paynter is one of six returning players who made ASUN All-Conference teams last season He joins fellow First Team honorees Joe Kerridge and Ivan Alvarado, Second-Team members Ivan Sakou and Scout Monteith and All-Freshman member Austin Eager.
One of five newcomers to this season’s squad is junior Ryan Birchfield. A Brit from Ipswich, England, Birchfield spent the last two seasons at Feather River College in Quincy, Calif. He impressed in his first practice in a Bisons kit netting multiple goals in team scrimmages near the end of practice.
“I’m very excited to get the season going,” Birchfield said. “Everything was 1-2 touch; everything was brilliant. The speed off the ball, the ball movement, it was all just brilliant. All the boys are quality. I’m really excited for this season.”
The season will begin this Saturday, Aug. 12 with a bang as the Bisons take on Louisville, a team that begins this season ranked ninth in the United Soccer Coaches Top-25 poll. It’ll be the fifth time the Bisons have played the Cardinals in the preseason, losing all four times previously, the most recent a 1-0 loss in 2015.
The quick turnaround for the match doesn’t bother Morrow but he knows it’ll be a challenge.
“It’s tough, but I think it’s a good opportunity for us.” Morrow said. “It’s why we play it so early, to just figure out where we’re at and what we need to work on moving forward.”
That match will begin at 6:30pm locally and you can follow here.