Oct. 6, 2007
The streak stood at 41 and counting, not that anybody really wanted to dwell on it.
Friday night the Lady Bisons took another historical step winning their first ever Atlantic Sun Conference game. In their fifth season in the A-Sun the Lady Bisons came into the game Friday night with an 0-38-3 conference record.
Forty-three seconds into the second half freshman forward Emma Scanlon, a walk-on, scored what would prove to be the history-making goal in a 1-0 win over USC Upstate at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
"I can't put it into words," said first-year coach Jon Ireland. "This is my biggest win ever. I just stood there and watched our players after the game. It was so cool to watch them."
Some players cheered. Some jumped up and down. Some didn't know what to do.
"I think they could feel it coming at the end of the game," said Ireland. "They were vocal with each other. They were encouraging each other.
"When it ended a lot of them were hugging each other. Our players were so excited. A lot of them didn't know what to do. Even though they were playing well and were the better team they were expecting something to go wrong because it has always been that way for them."
After playing to a 0-0 tie in the first half the Lady Bisons struck quickly in the second half as Scanlon scored what would prove to be the history-making goal 43 seconds into the second half.
"At halftime I looked at our players and told them this is our half," Ireland said. "Every game this season we have been the better team in the second half. A lot of that has to do with our fitness.
"I told them to go out and do all the little things. We have worked on fundamentals and winning loose balls. If we are motivated to win that loose ball we give ourselves a chance even if we don't have the most talent. In the end that is what we did. "
Scanlon fired the shot from approximately 10 yards out from the right side. The ball bounced off the left post and into the net beating Upstate goalkeeper Samantha Spradley.
The Lady Bisons made 18 shots, eight of them shots on goal. Upstate, which came into the game averaging 2.75 goals, made 14 shots with only three shots on goal.
"I thought they were a team we could compete with," Ireland said. "For the first time all year I told our players I thought we were the better team. We had a lot of good chances to score. I can't remember the last time we out-shot a team."
Lipscomb goalkeeper Katie Shelton, from Hendersonville, Tenn., earned her fourth shutout of the season. She only faced three shots, a season-low. "We have average giving up 26 shots a game, but to only give up three shots on goal is a credit to our defense," Ireland said. "We had the 0-0 tie at Campbell and then the shutout here.
"All we have focused on the last two or three weeks has been defense. It has made a difference. When you have a goalkeeper like Katie if we can limit the other team's shots we have a great chance to win."
Fridays have been good to the Lady Bisons this season with two of their three wins coming on that day of the week.
Sundays, however, have been an entirely different situation. The Lady Bisons have given up four goals in a game three times on Sundays to Murray State, Arkansas-Little Rock and Presbyterian. This Sunday at 1 p.m. they host ETSU in an A-Sun contest.
"The big test will be how we come back," Ireland said. "Traditionally on Sundays we have been terrible. We play well on Fridays and on Sundays we just come out flat."
Since the 0-0 tie with Campbell Ireland has sensed a major change in the attitude of his team.
"Our players are starting to believe in what they can do," Ireland said. "Belief is a powerful thing. When you believe it is amazing what you can do."
The Lady Bisons are 3-7-2, 1-1-1 in the A-Sun. Upstate is 2-7, 0-3-0 in the conference.