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Ireland wins first game as coach of Lady Bisons soccer

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sept. 11, 2007

Final Stats

In the minutes prior to the start of overtime, junior midfielder Sasha Sack was dealing with the pain in her leg.

Twenty-eight seconds later she capped a 50-yard charge down the field and scored the lone goal of the game as the Lipscomb Lady Bisons beat visiting Jackson State 1-0 Tuesday afternoon at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.

"She got kicked or something and was a in a lot of pain," said first-year Lipscomb coach Jon Ireland. "She went back in there and won a challenge at midfield. She then made a pass and kept running. We made two or three passes and found her in the box. She was coming in from the left and slid it in to the right side of the goal."

It was the first victory at Lipscomb for Ireland. It was the first victory for the women's soccer team since Sept. 3, 2006 when they beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6-0 on the road. It was the first home victory since a 2-1 defeat if Winthrop Sept. 9, 2004. And it was also the first overtime victory since overcoming Mercer 1-0 Oct. 31, 2002.

"I'm just happy for our players," Ireland said. "A lot of times you can work hard and make progress but the wins don't show up. I'm glad this time a win showed up."

Ireland pointed to the focus of the team as being one of the keys to the win.

"We had a real good practice Monday," Ireland said. "All we did was watch film. We went over all of the mistakes we have been making defensively. We have given some games away. This time doing the little things paid off.

"We really emphasized being focused for 90 minutes, especially defensively. If you do the little things and you are focused you give yourself a chance to win. This was the first time all year that they gave themselves the chance to win. It could have gone the other way, but because they were focused they got the win and the shutout."

Sack's goal marked the third time in a row that the Lady Bisons have scored a goal this season with one each against Central Arkansas and Arkansas-Little Rock. It is the first time the Lady Bisons have scored at least one goal in three consecutive games since 2002 when they opened the season with a 2-1 win over Martin Methodist and a 4-1 loss to Middle Tennessee and a 5-2 loss to Morehead State.

"A lot of progress has been made," Ireland said. "It is all because of their willingness to work. They have had a lot of reasons to get discouraged very quickly."

Another important reason for the successful outcome was the physical condition of the Lady Bisons who refused to show any signs of weariness.

"The other coach said our players were just running by his players," Ireland said. "In preseason we had a session where we did fitness non-stop for 131 minutes.

"That was done more to prepare them mentally for a time like this rather than physically for an overtime game like this. You have to forget your aches and pains and give everything you can. I felt like conditioning paid off. We were the strong team, especially at the end of the game."

Despite the scarcity of wins for the program in the past, Ireland has stressed to his players to put this win behind them as they prepare to face Tennessee-Chattanooga on the road Friday night.

"Our players have been getting more confident," Ireland said. "It has building and building. Winning a game, especially winning a game in overtime is awesome for them and we hope it carries over.

"But a team that is not used to winning can get satisfied after a win. I told them not to ever be satisfied. We have to continue to be hungry"

The Lady Bisons are 1-4. Jackson State is 1-3-2.