|August 25, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|LIP||50:56||REZA, Eduardo (ALVARADO, Ivan )|
|Stats at a Glance||NIAM||LIP|
|Shots (on Goal)||8 (4)||13 (6)|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A quick start to the second half and some late game clock management gave the Lipscomb men's soccer team (1-0) a 3-2 win to open its season Friday night against Niagara (0-1) at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
"We are certainly happy with a win," said Lipscomb head coach Charles Morrow. "Top start the season off on the right foot is pretty important.
After a slow start that featured little attacking and few chances, freshman Ben Locke opened the scoring midway through the first half in his first official game in Bisons kit. The game was a long-time coming for Locke, who spent the first two years of his college career redshirting at North Carolina St because of injuries.
"It was fun," Locke said. "More fun that we got the win, which was the biggest thing. Obviously though, I'm so excited to get that goal."
Momentum immediately swung back the Purple Eagles way as the visitors responded less than a minute later with a long 30-yard strike that found the net.
The feeling out process of the first half that resulted in a 1-1 halftime deadlock gave way to an up-tempo attack from Lipscomb to begin half two. It paid off quickly with two goals from the Bisons. Seniors Ivan Alvarado and Eduardo Reza each tallied to give the Bisons a two-goal lead.
"We regrouped to start the second half." Locke said. "We weren't playing our style of play. So Coach Morrow got us together, told us to take a deep breath and go out there and do what we were capable of."
For Alvarado, the goal matches his season total from last year, and an assist on Reza's goal sets him at the top of the Lipscomb record books. The helper gives him 17 for his career matching the program-record set by Miguel de Silva (2007-2010).
Niagara made the game interesting in the final 15 minutes as they halved the lead in the 76th minute to make the score 3-2.
"I hope we got any of the first game jitters out of the way." Morrow said. "I wasn't real happy with our performance or what we gave up defensively tonight. We'll definitely have to shore some of that up."
The Bisons locked down the ball in the last 10 minutes, trapping it in corners and passing it back and forth along the backline, stifling any chance for Niagara to tie the game.
"College soccer is all about getting wins," Locke said. "For us to know that we weren't near our best and still get a win, that's the most important thing."
The victors will now travel for their first road game of the 2017 season as they play South Florida on Monday night in Tampa. Kick off is at 6:00pm.