Following a morning film session coach Jon Ireland will put his players through drills designed to develop the finishing techniques of his forwards in the wake of Sunday’s 2-0 loss to Arkansas-Pine Bluff at the Lipscomb soccer practice field.
The Lady Bisons outshot Pine Bluff 23-16 and held a 13-8 edge in shots on goal. But Pine Bluff found the net twice in the first half and the Lady Bisons were never able add a finishing touch to their shots.
“We possessed the ball very well from the back to the midfield all the way up top,” said Lady Bisons coach Jon Ireland. “We get in the offensive third, especially around the 18-yard box, and we don’t have anyone who can finish.
“The ball is bouncing all around the box. We need someone to go in and head it or kick it in and there is nothing. That is the most discouraging part. We do all of the hard work to get it down there and we don’t have anyone willing to finish.”
The Lady Bisons have won two games by 1-0 scores and lost three games by 2-0 scores. Ireland has stressed the importance of scoring goals to his team. This week’s practices will center on trying to manufacture some players who are willing to pay the price to finish their shots.
“All we are going to do this week is work on finishing,” said Ireland. “There are certain players that just have a knack for scoring. They don’t have to be the fastest players or the most technical. They just have a way of getting behind the defense and when they get shots they finish them.
“We are going to have to work hard to manufacture goals this year. We are going to have to come up with some creative ways. A lot of times when we work on finishing drills in practice they don’t do well. In warm-ups before we played Pine Bluff our finishing drills were very sloppy. That turned out to be the case in the game.”
Once again, Erin Zerio started in net for the Lady Bisons and played the first half. She made two saves, but gave up both goals, one by Jade West at 38:23 of the first half and another by Casey Hogan at 42:30.
Ally Marler played the second half and made four saves.
“We played well enough to win,” said Ireland. “All year long we have played really well defensively. They had very few quality opportunities.
“We did all the right things to win the game. If there was a formula, we followed it. We just didn’t score. You can dominate the game, dominate possession and be better than the other team, but if you don’t score none of that matters.”
Ireland stressed that even though his team trailed by two goals at the half, the confidence factor of his players was high that they could recover offensively in the second half.
“We spent so much time on their end of the field and in their 18-yard box,” said Ireland. “We knew that if we could just get that first goal everything would change for us, but we never could.”
The loss dropped the Lady Bisons to 2-3. Pine Bluff is 2-0-2.
The Lady Bisons are back in action Sunday (Sept. 13) when Central Arkansas visits for a 1 p.m. game.