|August 24, 2018||1st||2nd||Final|
|LIP||41:37||LEIJA, Javier (PAYNTER, Logan , DELANEY, Ihaia)|
|Stats at a Glance||BEL||LIP|
|Shots (on Goal)||5 (2)||22 (4)|
NASHVILLE – The Lipscomb men’s soccer team will kick off its 2018 campaign at home Friday night against Belmont in the “Battle of the Boulevard”. The match is scheduled to get under way at 7 p.m. at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
The match will have live stats and will also be streamed on Facebook Live.
The Bisons will be looking to build on the momentum from last year’s ASUN Championship and NCAA Tournament appearance.
Expectations for the squad are high as the Bisons were tabbed first in the ASUN Preseason Coaches Poll, one voting point ahead of second-place FGCU. Lipscomb also carried four 1st-place votes to just one for the Eagles. Two members of the 2018 team were selected as Preseason All-ASUN honorees including forward Logan Paynter who was named the Preseason Player of the Year. Defender Austin Eager was the other selection.
The Purple and Gold graduated 10 players from last season’s team, but they still return a good number of experienced players with six juniors and five seniors. They return 14 players who drew starts a year ago, including keeper Chris Zappia who led the league with 11 victories and finished second with 81 saves.
On the offensive side of the pitch, three of the top five goal scorers return. Paynter finished second in the conference in goals (9), points (23) and game-winners (4), while also adding five assists. He is a three-time ASUN All-Conference First Team selection. Ihaia Delaney and Ryan Birchfield return after netting three goals apiece in 2017.
Head coach Bryan Green begins his fifth season at the helm of the Bruins after guiding the team to a 5-9-2 overall record, good for ninth in the Horizon League.
Belmont returns its top points scorer – sophomore Matteo Bennati – who was voted the Horizon League’s Freshman of the Year last season. Bennati potted three goals and one assist to give him a team-high seven points.
He was joined by Adam Voloder who also scored three goals. Only two other players scored more than one goal last season, as the team combined to score just 16 goals in 16 games.
Senior keeper Alex Seeley returns after starting nine games between the pipes in 2017. He finished 3-4-2 on the ledger, but pulled in 29 saves and held a 1.15 goals against average with three clean sheets.
- Lipscomb and Belmont have met 21 times in the all-time series history, but this will be the first since the Bisons downed the Bruins 4-2 in 2016.
- The Purple and Gold have gone unbeaten in 10 of the last 11 meetings against Belmont.
- The Bisons have 11 new faces on the roster this season (10 freshmen, 1 junior).
- Lipscomb finished 0-1-2 in the preseason behind a pair of 1-1 decisions with Mercer and Lindsey Wilson.
- Friday’s meeting will be the first season-opening matchup between the programs since 2015 when Belmont won 2-0 at Rose Park. Since the meeting, Lipscomb is 2-0 in its previous two season openers.
The Bisons will hit the road for their first away game on Monday as they take on South Carolina in Columbia at 6:00pm CT.