|November 16, 2017||1st||2nd||Final|
|BUTLER||7:29||GUHL, Brandon (GELDENHUYS, Kieran )|
|BUTLER||76:49||GUHL, Brandon (GELDENHUYS, Kieran )|
|Stats at a Glance||LIP||BUTLER|
|Shots (on Goal)||16 (4)||9 (5)|
INDIANAPOLIS – After 14 years at the Division I level, this is the moment the Lipscomb men’s soccer program has been building toward.
Since its first season of eligibility in 2004, no Bison team has ever done what the 2017 edition has achieved – an NCAA Tournament appearance.
Lipscomb (11-7-2) will look to continue its magical postseason run on Thursday when the Bisons make the 300-mile journey to the Sellick Bowl where they will face the 15th-ranked Butler Bulldogs in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 6 p.m.
In the nonconference season, the Bisons dominated by picking up three top-100 RPI victories and a draw. Two of the wins came against Top-35 teams on the road against San Diego and Kentucky. Overall the Bisons outscored non-ASUN opponents 22-20 and finished that portion of their schedule 7-3-1.
Butler will present Lipscomb its highest-rated RPI opponent of the season after coming in at No. 14 in the latest rankings.
The game will be broadcast on Facebook Live with Matt Schumacker and Tom Dunmore on the call. Live stats will also be available.
- This will be the first-ever meeting between the Bisons and Bulldogs.
- Though they have never faced each other on the pitch, they did have three common opponents on the schedule this season.
- Lipscomb beat Evansville 4-2 and SIUE 2-1, but lost to South Florida 3-0 on the road.
- Butler topped South Florida 3-2 in OT and Evansville 1-0, but lost to SIUE 2-0.
As the BIG EAST regular season champion after going 8-1-0 in league play, Butler (12-4-2) opens the NCAA Tournament ranked 15th in the nation in the latest United Soccer Coaches. This marks the second straight appearance for Butler in the Big Dance and its eighth overall.
Playing on home turf where it sports a 7-1-2 record, Butler had a four-match win streak come to an end last week when Xavier ousted the Bulldogs in the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament, 4-1, on PKs. After falling behind two goals in the second half of that match, Butler had two of its unlikeliest sources step up.
Kieran Geldenhuys and Joe Moulden came up with headers in the 79th and 84th minutes to pull the top-seeded Bulldogs level and send the match to overtime. The goals were just the second of the season for both Geldenhuys and Moulden, respectively.
Defensively the Bulldogs are led by goalkeeper Eric Dick’s 4.83 stops per match. His .832 save percentage is 15th best in the nation. On the other side of the ball, Brandon Guhl paces the squad with 10 goals and 24 points. Lewis Suddick is eighth in the country in assists per game (.53) and 23rd in total helpers (8).
THE ROAD TO THE NCAA
Lipscomb faced a tall task in order to get to the NCAA Tournament. The Bisons had to become the first 6-seed in conference tournament history to take home the crown.
Facing No. 3 NJIT in the opening round, Lipscomb raced out to 3-0 lead in the first half before the Highlanders fought back to level the score with less than four minutes to play in regulation. After 20 scoreless minutes of extra time, the Bisons had to endure their first shootout since 2008.
They went to 6-foot-6 redshirt freshman Luke Wilson in net, the first action of his collegiate career. After stopping two shots and forcing another high, Wilson and the Bisons advanced on PKs, 3-0.
In the semifinals at No. 2 Florida Gulf Coast, senior forward Ivan Sakou wasted little time in putting the visitors on the board when a harmless shot wiggled through the keeper’s legs and into the net. FGCU drew back even midway through the first half, but the Bison defense stood tall and Logan Paynter buried the game-winner in the 71st minute off Austin Eager’s service to send Lipscomb to its first-ever ASUN Title match.
On a rain-soaked turf at Southern Oaks Stadium, the sixth-seeded Bisons looked the better side from beginning to end, dominating ball possession throughout. Kyle Smith scored the game’s first goal in the 30th minute when he quickly knocked in a rebound in the box off a save. Just seven minutes after a score from the Dolphins, Lipscomb was awarded a penalty after a handball in the box was whistled. Eduardo Reza stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner underneath the diving keeper to clinch the title.
- The Bisons are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.
- With 11 victories on the season, the Bisons now have five double-digit win seasons in program history. All five have come in head coach Charles Morrow’s tenure.
- The Purple and Gold possesses one of the nation’s most potent offenses. Led by strikers Logan Paynter and Ivan Sakou, the Bisons are 30th in the nation averaging 1.80 goals per outing on 14.55 shots.
- Lipscomb has produced 36 total goals this season, the most of any ASUN team. They enter the NCAA College Cup ranked 22nd in the nation with that mark. By comparison, Butler finished the season ranked 76th in the nation with 26 total goals. Lipscomb has tallied multiple goals in six of its last nine matches.
- Lipscomb has never had two 10-goal scorers in the same season. Paynter has nine goals while 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 6thall-time in program history in goals.
- After his game-winner in the ASUN semifinal, Paynter now has eight career game-winning goals, including four this season. That ties him for 14thin the nation.
- Chris Zappia’s 11-wins are the most by any goalie in the ASUN this season and the most a Lipscomb keeper has ever recorded in a single season.
- Zappia is 11th in the nation in goalie minutes at 1877:41. His 78 saves stand 24th
- The Bisons currently sit 87th in the NCAA RPI after their three ASUN Tournament wins.
- Ivan Alvarado, Paynter and Sakou have combined to score 21 of the team’s 34 goals this season including four of the seven in the ASUN Tournament.
- Alvarado, a four-time ASUN First Team All-Conference selection, pulls the strings in the midfield for the Bisons. He smashed the program's career assist record this season and ranks tied for third in the league with five assists this year. He has 21 career assists heading into Thursday's opening round match.
- Kyle Smith earned his ninth and 10th points of the campaign in the final at Jacksonville after netting his second score of the season. He is fourth on the team in points.
- Eduardo Reza rocketed home his third goal of the year on the title-clinching PK against the Dolphins.
The winner of Thursday’s match will advance to take on No. 16 VCU in Richmond, Virginia on Sunday, November 19 at 4 p.m. CT.