Facing Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun opener for both teams Friday night at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex the Lady Bisons, picked to finish No. 10 in the conference, gave the No. 1 preseason team all it could handle.
“It is the hardest and most devastating loss I have experienced as a player of a coach,” Lipscomb coach Jon Ireland said. “I felt like we could have won the game if we went to overtime. I thought we had the momentum.”
The two teams fought to a 0-0 deadlock in the first half.
At the 48:56 mark of the second half Kennesaw State took the lead on a penalty kick by Alma Gardarsdottir.
“Our defense was awesome,” Ireland said. “I can’t say enough about Katie Woods and Meghan McGuire in the middle. But the penalty kick took the wind out of us.“
The Lady Bisons never gave up, tying the game with 1:44 left to play. Andie Thornton, battling one-on-one, put the ball into the corner of the net.
“That took a lot of heart,” Ireland said. “We have outworked our opponent in every game this year. The key ingredient for us is our work ethic.”
Brittany Vining decided the game with a clear shot from the box.
“There is a reason Kennesaw State is a championship team,” Ireland said. “It’s all about finishing games and they find a way to do it.”
Last season on Oct. 9 the Lady Bisons fell 7-0 to Kennesaw State on the road. Kennesaw State has not lost a conference opener since joining the Atlantic Sun. They have been the conference champion two of the last three seasons.
“We haven’t had much success against Kennesaw State,” Ireland said. “Kennesaw State is a top team. But we outplayed them in this game.
“Kennesaw State has everything you would want in a team. And we took it to them with our pressure.“
The Lady Bisons attempted eight shots, four of them shots on goal. Kennesaw State had 16 shots, including seven shots on goal.
Lipscomb goalkeeper Erin Zerio made five saves. Kennesaw State goalkeeper Staci Pugh was credited with four saves.
The Lady Bisons, 4-5, 0-1 in the A-Sun, will host Mercer at noon Sunday. Kennesaw State is 4-3-1, 1-0 in the conference. Mercer, 2-5-1, 1-0 in the A-Sun, beat Belmont 1-0 in overtime Friday night.
Ireland stressed to his team the importance of not letting this loss have a negative effect on preparations for the Mercer game.
“I don’t want to see them sulking or feeling sorry for themselves,” Ireland said. “Sometimes you work hard and you don’t get the outcome you want or deserve.
“We have to forget this game and get ready for Mercer. We will watch film Saturday morning and practice. We have a very young team. We are going to get better and better.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.