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Lady Bisons ruin Troy's home opener with 1-0 win
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Lady Bisons ruin Troy's home opener with 1-0 win
The Lipscomb Lady Bisons ruined the home opener for Troy with a 1-0 win on a field muddied by a steady rain Wednesday evening in Troy, Ala.

“We walked on the field Wednesday morning and it was really wet,” said Lipscomb coach Jon Ireland. “Then it rained for three or four hours before the game. It wasn’t raining when we started the game, but as we started playing it started to rain.

“It just poured the entire second half. It was pure mud. The whole flow of the game changed in the second half. It ended up being a kick ball game.”

Junior forward Kate Spellman scored at 2:24 into the first period. She was assisted by sophomore midfielder Danielle Bethke.

“Danielle made a beautiful pass and Kate got in behind them for a one-on-one,” said Ireland. “Her shot was low in front of the keeper.”

Ireland had been upset with the way his team had started its game Friday night at Tennessee-Martin, a 2-0 loss. An early morning practice session on Saturday and some extensive film work apparently got the attention of the Lady Bisons.

“One of the things we had talked about was coming out early and playing well,” said Ireland. “When we lost to UT-Martin we didn’t match their energy. We were flat. We talked about being focused and being mentally prepared. I told our players we had to match Troy’s energy and then raise it.

“We started off on fire. We put a tremendous amount of pressure on them. We dominated a large part of the game, especially in the first half when the weather conditions were good. We possessed the ball very well.”

Defensively, the Lady Bisons held Troy to seven shots, only three on goal. It was the lowest number of shots on goal allowed by the Lady Bisons since they held Arkansas-Pine Bluff to three in 2-2 tie Sept. 19.

Freshman goalkeeper Erin Zerio started the game and played the first half before being replaced by freshman Ally Marler in the second half. Zerio was credited with two saves and Marler made one. It was the second time in three games that Zerio and Marler have combined for a shutout. They stopped Austin Peay 1-0 in the season opener.

“Both goalkeepers were tremendous,” said Ireland.

All 10 of the Lady Bisons shots were scored as shots on goal. Troy goalkeeper Ashley Branham was credited with nine saves. It was the most shots on goal in a game for the Lady Bisons since they were credited with nine Oct. 31 in a 2-1 loss to Murray State.

“One of the things I said when I addressed the team before the game was that four shots were not going to be enough for us to win,” said Ireland. “We had to do better offensively."

Ireland was proud of the way his players endured the adverse weather and field conditions to preserve the win.

“Troy was a hot team,” said Ireland. “This was a huge win for us to beat them in their home opener, especially when they were on such a high note.

"Our players did a great job closing the game. There was the pouring rain and mud and they held on and held on and did what they had to do."

It was the first time the Lady Bisons have beaten Troy in soccer. They had lost the previous three outings, including two on Troy's home field. The last time the two teams met was Oct. 14, 2004 in Troy, a 2-1 loss for the Lady Bisons.

Troy had opened the season with a 3-0 record on the road. They had won their last six games in a row dating back to the end of last season.

The Lady Bisons are 2-1, the first time in the history of the program that they have started the season with two wins in the first three games. Their next stop is at Tennessee-Chattanooga Friday at 6 p.m.