|November 11, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|LIP||29:35||SMITH, Kyle (PAYNTER, Logan )|
|JU||61:17||MUCCILLI, Ignazio (DIAZ, Diego )|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||JU|
|Shots (on Goal)||20 (6)||7 (3)|
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It is unchartered territory for the Lipscomb men’s soccer team with the first ASUN Final in program history Saturday night in Jacksonville. After seven previous failed attempts in the ASUN Semifinal, the Bisons beat FGCU 2-1 on Sunday to get one step closer to their yet unfulfilled dream, an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Through two games in the ASUN Tournament, it’s been the perfect mix of stars performing at their best and less heralded players stepping up. The “Big Three” of Logan Paynter, Ivan Sakou and Ivan Alvarado have led the charge for the Bisons with a combination of four goals and three assists in the tournament.
The trio have either scored or assisted on all five tournament goals for the Bisons, and Sakou’s three goals have him in prime position to take home more postseason hardware.
On the other side, names that weren’t as familiar with Bisons fans like Luke Wilson and Ryan Birchfield have stepped up during the tournament to deliver dramatic moments.
Wilson, the Bisons backup keeper, might be the story of the tournament so far. After never having played in his collegiate career, Wilson came in as a “shootout specialist” when Lipscomb’s first round match against NJIT went to penalty kicks. The 6’6” redshirt freshman showed why the coaches had faith in him making two saves and forcing a third shot high to propel the Bisons into the ASUN Semis.
Birchfield, a junior transfer, has gotten better and better this season and has delivered two standout performances in the tournament. He scored against NJIT and was inches from another goal against FGCU, putting a header just high.
The Bisons will need all the pieces to click on Saturday against Jacksonville, if the team wants its ultimate dream realized. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. CT and the match will be broadcast on ESPN3.
The Bisons and Dolphins have met 20 times with the Dolphins leading the series 10-9-1. The teams have played three times in the ASUN Tournament with 1-1-1 record. Jacksonville advanced in the draw on penalties back in 2008.
It was just two weeks ago that the teams met on Lipscomb’s Senior Night in Nashville. Jacksonville stormed out to a 3-0 first half lead, but a red card shifted momentum the Bisons way. Unfortunately, the hole was too big to climb out of, and Lipscomb lost 3-1.
SCOUTING THE DOLPHINS
Like Lipscomb, Jacksonville has found new life in the ASUN Tournament. After a poor regular season in which the Dolphins scored just 14 total goals, tied for the fewest in the ASUN, they have won back-to-back upsets in the tournament over North Florida and top-seeded Stetson.
In the opening round, the Dolphins scored a winner in the 78th minute to cap a comeback and beat UNF 2-1.
Then in the semifinals against Stetson, Jacksonville overcame a dramatic tying goal by the Hatters in the final five minutes of regulation with a goal of its own in double overtime. In that match, Jacksonville played a man up from the 5th minute on after a Stetson red led to an early Dolphins PK goal.
Igor Ferreira leads the Dolphins offense. With a goal in each tournament game and five on the season, the midfielder has carried the Dolphins into the Finals. Keeper Patrick Harding has also had a hand in the Dolphins run, making nine saves in the tournament.
- The Bisons are just the second No. 6 seed to make the ASUN Finals. In 2011, ETSU made the Finals as a No. 6 seed and lost.
- The matchup between the No. 5 and No. 6 seed in the Finals is the first in ASUN history.
- Lipscomb has never had two 10-goal scorers in the same season. Logan Paynter has nine goals while Ivan Sakou has eight.
- As a redshirt junior, Paynter sits just seven goals shy of first in program history in career goals with 26. He trails Garrett Pettis (33) and Miguel DaSilva (32).
- Ivan Sakou’s 14 career goals are the most by any Bison who played two years or fewer for the program. Sakou sits 6th all-time in program history in goals.
- After his game-winner in Sunday’s semifinal, Paynter now has eight career game-winning goals, including four this season. That ties him for 14th in the nation.
- Chris Zappia’s 10-wins are the most by any goalie in the ASUN. It’s the first 10-win season by any Lipscomb keeper since 2014. No Lipscomb keeper has ever recorded an 11-win season.
- The Bisons currently sit 74th in the NCAA RPI after their two ASUN Tournament wins. Lipscomb will have to win the ASUN Final for a trip to the NCAA Tournament.