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No. 16 Bisons set for Sweet Sixteen matchup with No. 3 Kentucky
Friday, November 23, 2018
By Kirk Downs
No. 16 Bisons set for Sweet Sixteen matchup with No. 3 Kentucky

NASHVILLE – No. 16 Lipscomb men’s soccer makes its first-ever trip to the Sweet 16, facing No. 3 Kentucky in the third round of the NCAA Championship Saturday in Lexington, Kentucky at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex.

Kickoff between the Bisons and Wildcats is set for 6 p.m. The match can be viewed live on SEC Network +. Live stats will also be available.

If Lipscomb is to advance to the Elite Eight, the Bisons will have to continue playing impressive defense. The Bisons have posted three straight clean sheets and have not allowed a goal in the last 372:34 minutes of play.

UK earned a bye in the first round before crushing Portland, 4-0, on Sunday to set up a Sweet 16 date with the Bisons.


The Bisons have become the darling of the tournament after traveling more than 5,000 miles and knocking off No. 25 Washington and No. 9 University of Central Florida in the span of four days.

Lipscomb opened the championship last Thursday in Seattle, Washington where senior keeper Chris Zappia made every stop in 110 minutes of action to help send the match into PKs. Backup goalie, and PK specialist, Luke Wilson moved in net and proved the hero for the Bisons with a pair of stops in six attempts from the Huskies to send them to Orlando for the second round.

Just three days after earning the program’s first-ever win in the NCAA Tournament, Lipscomb stunned UCF in overtime when freshman Louis Robinson blasted a ball into the top left corner in the 97th minute.

The Bisons now get a chance to continue their improbable run on Saturday against a familiar opponent.



  • Lipscomb and Kentucky have met on the pitch in three consecutive seasons, where the series is tied 1-1-1.
  • Earlier this season on Sept. 17, the Wildcats came to Nashville undefeated and ranked No. 6 in the country. After UK scored the first two goals, Lipscomb got scores in the second half from senior Logan Paynter and Ryan Birchfield to send it to overtime. The Wildcats’ JJ Williams chipped a ball over Wilson in overtime to escape Nashville with a 3-2 victory.
  • In 2017, the Purple and Gold got goals from Paynter and Ivan Sakou before Birchfield threw a dagger at the Wildcats for the game-winner in the 60thminute to win 3-2 in Lexington.
  • In 2016, keeper Chris Zappia came away with six saves in just his second-career start as the Bisons battled the 20th-ranked ‘Cats to a 1-1 draw.


  • The Wildcats began the season unranked and off the radar, now they are one of the favorites to win the national title.
  • They enter the weekend 18-1-1 overall and are riding a 9-match win streak.
  • At home UK has been perfect, compiling an 11-0 mark. In those games, they have outscored the opponents 30-1. The lone tally came in a 6-1 win over New Mexico on Oct. 21.
  • The two goals scored for the Bisons in September are the second most UK has allowed this season. They gave up three in its only loss of the season at FIU (3-2, Oct. 7).
  • They have outscored the opposition 47-9 overall and keeper Enrique Facusse has recorded a nation-leading 14 shutouts.
  • The All-American Williams leads the attack for the Wildcats with 18 goals and 8 assists. His total goals and points are the third-best totals in Division I.
  • Kalil ElMedkhar ranks ninth nationally with 32 points on 11 goals and 10 assists.



  • Lipscomb is the first ASUN Conference team to advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament since 1996.
  • After earning the win over UCF on Sunday, Top Drawer Soccer launched the Bisons into its Top 25 poll at No. 16 – the first time Lipscomb has ever been ranked.
  • A big reason for leaping Lipscomb into the poll is its 4-1 record against ranked teams this season. Its only loss came to Kentucky. They earned wins over No. 9 UCF, No. 10 Louisville, No. 24 FGCU and No. 25 Washington. Three of those came on the road.
  • The Bisons are 7-1-1 in their last nine outings. The tie resulted in the Bisons 5-4 win in PKs at Washington.
  • With their victory on Sunday, the Bisons have their sixth double-digit win season in program history. All six have come in head coach Charles Morrow’s tenure.
  • Lipscomb is led by striker Logan Paynter. The senior has put together a special season after becoming the first player in ASUN history to be named the Player of the Year, the Scholar Athlete of the Year and the Tournament MVP.
  • He scored two goals in the ASUN championship to become the program’s all-time leading scorer with 35 goals. He broke the record, previously held by Garret Pettis (2008-11), with two goals in the ASUN Championship game.
  • Paynter leads the team with nine goals, three assists and 21 total points.
  • Zappia has been lights out in net for the Bisons since losing to ETSU on Sept. 15. The senior is 9-0-1 in his last 10 games in net and sports a 1.07 goals against average.
  • He was brilliant in net against the Huskies, reeling in a season high eight saves. He then backed it up with another 8-save performance against the Knights.
  • 13 of the team’s games have been decided by just a single tally, while five of them have come in overtime.
  • Robinson and Birchfield have each scored four goals on the year, while the latter has also added three assists to give him 11 points – the second most on the team.
  • John Wynia is tied for third in the conference in assists with five and is a member of the All-Academic Team.



The winner of Saturday’s match will get either No. 6 Duke or No. 11 Maryland next week in the Elite Eight.