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Lipscomb-Belmont soccer showdown will be a night of fun

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sept. 27, 2007

It's always more than just a soccer game when Lipscomb and Belmont meet, but this time it really is more than just a soccer game.

Friday night at 7, rivals Belmont and Lipscomb will stage soccer's version of the "Battle of the Boulevard". This is the first Atlantic Sun Conference game for both teams.

"It is obviously an important game for both teams," said Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow. "Starting conference play is a whole new season.

"We feel like the schedule we have played has prepared us for the conference. "We feel like our players are battle-tested and hardened."

Belmont enters the game with a 3-3-1 record. The Bisons are 1-5. Morrow isn't worried about the records of either team at this point in the season.

"When you look at our record from the outside you might think we are in for a long year," Morrow said. "Three of the first six teams we have played have been in the Top 25 nationally or receiving Top 25 votes. We feel like we have played a very high level of competition."

The Bisons won 2-0 last season on Belmont's home field. They don't plan to be as gracious to Belmont. The game is the centerpiece of what is expected to be a fun-filled evening.

"We are very familiar with hour Belmont plays," Morrow said. "South Carolina plays a similar style to Belmont so we felt like that was a good lead up game. Our guys feel ready. With all of the festivities going on that brings a new excitement to the rivalry."

Morrow has stressed to his team to treat this as just another game in terms of their preparation.

"I think it is important for our players not to perceive this as added pressure but as extra stuff to make this a fun event for them and our fans," Morrow said. "Whether we win or lose this game has no bearing on how the rest of our season is going to go.

"It is a rivalry. In rivalries like this anybody can win and sometimes the best team is not the one that wins."

Starting with this game, the winner will receive custom hand-made trophy designed by Preston Farabow, a Knoxville native and world-renowned sculptor.

Activities begin at 5 p.m. when a live band cranks up some country music. The Red Bull Wingers, a group of skilled jugglers, will provide both pre-game and halftime performances.

Free hamburgers and hot dogs will be available starting at 5:30. T-shirts will be given to the first 450 Lipscomb students in attendance. There will also be drawings for door prizes.

Fans are encouraged to wear black for the game which is also being billed as "Black Out Night".

Usually Lipscomb soccer games have free admission, but there will be a charge of $2 to attend the game and assorted festivities. The proceeds from the game will be presented to the Youth Encouragement Center, an inner cities outreach.

There will be a special drawing for two framed Red Bull MLS game jerseys autographed by the players. Lipscomb soccer team equipment and other soccer merchandise will also be available for purchase.