|November 05, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|LIP||0:18||SAKOU, Ivan (PAYNTER, Logan )|
|FGCU||28:35||ZAPATA, Dennis (ADAMS, Shak , CLEMENT, Chris)|
|LIP||70:19||PAYNTER, Logan (EAGER, Austin )|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||FGCU|
|Shots (on Goal)||11 (2)||10 (4)|
FORT MYERS, Fla. - The drought is over. After seven previous losses in the ASUN Semifinals, the Lipscomb men's soccer team took down ASUN power FGCU 2-1 to earn its first-ever trip to a Championship final.
"Personally its such a relief to get to the final," head coach Charles Morrow said. "I'm so happy for these guys. It's a very good and talented team. I just love the guys. They are such a joy to be around. They are all bought in for what's best for the team."
To make the win even sweeter, Morrow earned his 100th Lipscomb win in the process, setting a mark no other Bisons head coach has reached.
"For it to happen in this game is awesome," Morrow said. "To secure that win on this field in this game is so fitting."
As he has been throughout his Lipscomb career, Logan Paynter came up clutch with the winning goal in the 71st minute, heading the ball in from the far post off an Austin Eager service. Its the ninth goal of the season and the fourth game-winner for Paynter.
"From the start of the second half we were all over them," Paynter said. "We knew it was coming. Eager's service is incredible. I was kind of sitting on the back post by myself. It was a great play by everybody."
The match couldn't have started any better for Lipscomb as Ivan Sakou scored just 18 seconds in after a harmless shot wiggled through the FGCU keeper's wickets and found the back of the net. It continued a magical tournament so far for Sakou who now has three goals in two games and eight total on the season.
"It's great to get the early one," Paynter said. "A lot of times when we played them they get the early one and we have to chase the game. In this heat today, we didn't want to have to chase the game. So that goal gave us the comfort to settle in and not be chasing the game the entire time."
Unfortunately, the match turned when Sakou, who had put immense pressure on FGCU throughout the first ten minutes collided hard with the Eagles metal bench on the sideline and had to be removed from the game. Without his presence up top, the Eagles took control of the match and were able to find an equalizer in the 29th minute, knotting the score at 1-1.
The rest of the first half played mostly in the Eagles favor as the Bisons defense and keeper Chris Zappia survived until halftime.
"I thought we did a great job of surviving the half," Morrow said. "To go through what they went through on Friday night and have to turn back around on Sunday against a team on full rest took a Herculean effort. The rest at haltime was huge for us."
Sakou made a courageous return to start the second half, fighting through pain and again the Bisons looked dangerous. Possessing the ball most of the final 45 minutes, Lipscomb limited the Eagles attack before Paynter found the winner.
"It's so sweet to get to the final here," Paynter said. "FGCU has been so good for so long. To beat them and know we can go to the next level is unbelievable. And these guys I'm so lucky to be with, being with them everyday is so enjoyable. They push me so hard. I love these guys more than anything."
- Paynter's goal gives him 26 in his career as climbs closer to the top of the Bisons goal ranks. He now trails 2nd place by just six goals.
- Paynter added an assist on Sakou's opening goal. His three-point night is the 11th of his career and gives him 60 career points.
- The assist from Eager is the second of the season for the sophomore.
- The victory in Fort Myers is the first for Lipscomb over FGCU since the 2007-08 season and the first ever win against the Eagles in the ASUN Tournament.
- As the No. 6 seed, the Bisons become the lowest seeded team to reach the ASUN Final since 2011. A No. 6 seed has never won the ASUN Championship.
- The win gives the Bisons the fifth 10-win season in program history.
- The senior class of 2018 officially becomes the winningest class in program history with 38 wins over the last four seasons.
- Ivan Alvarado, Paynter and Sakou have combined to score 21 of the team's 32 goals this season including four of the five goals in the tournament. At least one of the three players has scored or assisted on every tournament goal.
The Bisons will take on No. 5 seed Jacksonville in the ASUN Championship match. The Dolphins upset the No. 1 seed Stetson Hatters in double overtime. The matchup will be the first time the bottom two seeds have ever met in ASUN Championship history. The game is scheduled for next Saturday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla.