That one time was Sunday afternoon in a 4-0 loss to Mercer at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex, the second A-Sun loss in as many outings for the Lady Bisons.
“It comes down to how we play,” Ireland said. “It doesn’t matter who we play. We really believe if we play our system, and play our way like we have done in every game but Mercer, that we can play with anyone.”
The Lady Bisons will stop in Johnson City Friday night at 6 to play ETSU, 5-2-1, 1-0-0 in the A-Sun, at Summers-Taylor Stadium. They will play USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C., Sunday afternoon at 1.
ETSU leads the series with the Lady Bisons 5-1. ETSU is 17-10-1 all-time at home in A-Sun games.
“ETSU plays very well at home,” Ireland said. “They have a lot of girls returning from last year’s team. They are a tough team to play because they are very technical with a lot of size and good speed.
“They have done very well in non-conference games. They beat Campbell 2-0 last weekend.”
Ireland thinks the Mercer game was a wake-up call for his players.
“We needed to get kicked, especially after our emotional 2-1 loss to Kennesaw State,” Ireland said. “We went through the motions. We weren’t there. We weren’t focused.
“Part of it is that we got a false sense of how good we are because we played Kennesaw so well.”
Ireland decided it was time to get back to the basics of the game. He hopes that will translate into success.
“If we are not disciplined in what we do, and if we don’t play the system we need to play and play it correctly, we are not going to have success,” Ireland said. “We have been in nine of the 10 games we have played and we had a chance to win every one of them because of the way we played.
“Against Mercer everything collapsed _ our system and our effort. Nothing went right.”
Ireland also dealt with an apparent frustration level against Mercer that he attributes to having a young team.
“We just made too many mistakes across the board from goalkeeping and defenders to our midfielders and front runners,” Ireland said. “We gave up a stupid penalty kick on a cheap foul. Then they scored off of a free kick at midfield. At that point we got the sense it was not going to be a very good game for us.”
Click here for live stats.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.