Lipscomb Lady Bisons soccer coach Jon Ireland, who will have a team filled primarily with freshmen and sophomores this season, thinks he has formulated a schedule that will build confidence in his team before heading into the Atlantic Sun Conference portion of the season.
“We have several teams that we can compete with at this point where we are and that will hopefully give us some confidence going into the conference,” Ireland said. “That’s when the real season begins.
“It’s always hard to know what to expect from your team until you see the kids. Hopefully, they have been out taking care of themselves, getting stronger and running.”
The Lady Bisons will open the home portion of the 2010 schedule Aug. 20 at the Lipscomb Sports Complex against the Tennessee-Chattanooga. The remaining non-conference home matches are Aug. 27 against Tennessee-Martin and Aug. 29 against Jackson State.
The Lady Bisons will play Austin Peay on the road in Clarksville Aug. 23. They travel to Arkansas to face Arkansas State in Jonesboro Sept. 3 and Central Arkansas Sept. 5 in Conway.
They close out the non-conference portion of the season at the South Carolina State Tournament in Orangeburg. They play the host team Sept 10 and then face The Citadel Sept. 12.
“Last year we had some similar games on the schedule that I felt like we could have done better in,” Ireland said. “We obviously made so many mistakes throughout the year, like giving up early goals. That didn’t give us a lot of confidence going into the conference.
“The way I look at it, it is not necessarily the schedule but us. I thought we beat ourselves so many times last season. We didn’t give ourselves a chance, and that was frustrating.”
Conference play opens with two home games. The Lady Bisons will challenge Kennesaw State Sept. 17 and Mercer Sept. 19. Rounding out the home conference schedule are visits from Campbell Oct. 2, North Florida Oct. 8 and Jacksonville Oct. 10.
The Lady Bisons will play conference games against ETSU (Sept. 24), USC Upstate (Sept. 26), Stetson (Oct. 15), Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 17) and Belmont (Oct. 23).
“A lot of teams seem to be getting better and better every year,” Ireland said. “Last year we can’t blame anything but ourselves for the way we finished the season. We just made way too many mistakes to get into the tournament.
“We had a lot of inexperience last year. Those girls will be held accountable this season. Hopefully, they will have matured where we won’t have the same problems. Our sophomores got a lot of playing time as freshmen. They should have no excuses this year.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.