MACON, Ga. – A short-handed Lady Bisons squad hung tough with Atlantic Sun-leading Mercer, Friday, ultimately falling to the Bears 3-0 in the conference-opening match for both squads.
“They’re a very good team,” said Lipscomb head coach Jon Ireland. “This was one of our better games. The score is not an accurate indication of how well we played.
Lipscomb (2-7-1, 0-1-0 A-Sun)) managed just five shots, compared to 22 for Mercer (7-2-0, 1-0-0). The Bisons were without a couple of contributors in this match, limiting Lipscomb in its substitution patterns.
Mercer’s Washida Blackman got on the board in the 28th minute, heading in a Casey Barrett cross for her season’s second goal.
The Bears leading scorer, Olivia Tucker, banged home her season’s sixth goal in the 44th minute, playing the ball off a rebound in the box. Two Lipscomb defenders slipped inside the box, allowing Tucker free range to the ball.
Sophomore Alex Wagner (17th minute) and senior Kirsten Heikkinen (37th minute) put Lipscomb’s shots on goal in the first half.
Tucker got another goal just after the start of the second half, scoring in the 47th minute on a shot off a rebound. It was Tucker, the A-Sun’s active leading scorer, 30th career goal.
“The goal at the end and the beginning of the half really hurt us,” Ireland said. “We lost momentum going into the half and at the beginning of the second, to times when it’s most important.”
Lipscomb junior Katie Wood’s 67th-minute header would be Lipscomb’s lone shot on goal in the second half.
Lipscomb netminder Erin Zerio finished with eight saves, her third consecutive match with seven saves or better. She has 48 on the season. Mercer’s Cagney Valloch made three saves in the victory.
The Lady Bisons will be back in the Georgia heat Sunday, at Kennesaw State. Kick-off is scheduled for 12 noon.
“We showed up and played hard today,” Ireland said. “When you open with teams like (Mercer and Kennesaw State), you have to bring your A-game. Take away a couple of plays and we’re in this game. If we play this way Sunday, we’ll be in the game against Kennesaw State.”
Check Lipscombsports.com for more information on the Lady Bison soccer team, and follow us on Twitter (@Lipscombwsoccer) and like us on Facebook (Lipscomb Women’s Soccer).