NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a classic tale of two-halves, the Lipscomb women’s soccer team attempted comeback in the second half fell just short. The Lady Bisons dropped a 3-2 decision to Kennesaw State on Sunday afternoon at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
“It was an interesting day,” Lipscomb head coach Kevin O’Brien said. “It wasn’t typical character of our girls. We have been fighting tooth-and-nail every game, so for us to come out that lethargic was shocking to me.”
Kennesaw State improved to 7-6-1 overall and 3-1-1 in Atlantic Sun Conference play. Lipscomb slipped to 2-8-4 overall and 0-4-2 in the loop.
The Owls jumped on the scoreboard in the ninth minute as Danielle Gray sent a through ball to Katrina Frost sending the ball into the right side of the goal, for the early 1-0 lead.
With KSU controlling much of the first half, the Owls went up 2-0 as Hannah Churchill sent a cross from the right side of the penalty box to Liz Blackburn, who one-touched the ball into the goal.
Just two minutes later in the 35th minute the Owls tacked on a third goal as Jewelia Strickland took a corner kick, placing it perfectly to Kelsey Barr for the header.
The Lady Bisons went into halftime with just one shot as the Owls attempted 16.
“To go into halftime down three was something we haven’t experienced yet this year,” O’Brien said. “We tried to rally the troops, I think there was a lot of good internal leadership from Andie (Thornton), TA (Taylor Ann Summers), and Kam (Kameron Stilwell) who just put the challenge to one another and step-up.”
Just four minutes into the second half, as the Lady Bisons were trying to make a push, an errant Owls hand touched the ball in the box, giving LU the penalty kick. Sophomore Brittany Rupple calmly stepped up to take the kick, striking it into the net for her first career goal.
Down 3-1 and playing more competitively, the Purple and Gold kept the Owl offense at bay, attempting a comeback.
Sophomore Baylee Linnell broke free from the Owl defense on a breakaway with just the goalkeeper in front of her. As she was getting ready to make her move, a KSU defender caught up and tried swiping the ball away but instead tripped up Linnell, creating another penalty kick opportunity.
Rupple stepped in again and hit the free kick cutting the Owl lead to just one with 18 minutes remaining.
With a bit of momentum, the Lady Bisons continued to control the second stanza. The senior, Thornton, had Lipscomb on their feet as she unleashed a shot from 15 yards out but missed just inches to the right of the goal in the 81st minute.
Kennesaw clamped down over the final nine minutes, not allowing another Lipscomb shot.
“Ultimately it was a wonderful second half,” O’Brien said. “We played very competitively and got two goals back and made it a real game for ten minutes or so. I am very proud of the finish but it is a 90 minute game, so we have got to find a way to find the energy on Sunday.”
The Lady Bisons held the Owls to just six second half shots while the Bison tallied four. Senior goalkeeper Erin Zerio made six saves, moving her into tenth place all-time in the A-Sun record book.
Lipscomb makes the final road trip of the season, traveling to USC Upstate on Friday and ETSU on Sunday.