NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After winning two straight conference games for the first time in school history, the Lipscomb Lady Bisons soccer team will be back on the road this weekend for matches at Jacksonville (Oct. 14, 6 p.m.) and North Florida (Oct. 16, 12 noon). This will be Lipscomb’s first road games since Sept. 25.
Lipscomb comes in to the weekend off one of the biggest victories in program history. Last Friday, the Lady Bison defeated Belmont, 2-1, for their first-ever victory against the cross-town rivals.
Offensively, this Bisons team is far ahead of last season’s squad. After scoring just 10 goals in 18 games in 2010, Lipscomb has 14 goals through 14 matches so far in 2011. Senior Meghan McGuire has led the assault with five goals, while Alex Wagner and Kirsten Heikkinen have two apiece.
This weekend will be a big test for the Lady Bisons. Though winning two in a row has been a big boost for the program, Lipscomb has a long way to go to earn a spot in the conference tournament. The last time the Atlantic Sun was a 10-team league (2006), 12 points earned in conference play was enough for a tournament berth. At six points with four games to play, Lipscomb needs to come up with at least two more wins to stay in the race.
Jacksonville and North Florida both present significant challenges. The Dolphins defense, led by keeper Sarah Sierra, are giving up less than a goal per game and are tied with preseason Florida Gulf Coast for second in the conference. Offensively, Jacksonville has done most of its damage in the second half, with 13 of it’s 19 goals this season coming in the final 45 minutes of regulation.
North Florida boasts a high-octane offense that is third in the conference with 24 goals. Laura Hopfensperger leads the Ospreys with five goals, while Carolina Lencina and Kathryne Husted have four apiece.
The schedule won’t get much easier in the final weekend of the regular season. Lipscomb will be back home for matches against preseason favorite Florida Gulf Coast (Oct. 21, 7 p.m.) and wrap up the regular season with Senior Day against Stetson (Oct. 23, 1 p.m.)
Opponents Last Matches
Jacksonville up-ended Upstate 4-1, Friday. Kaitlyn Bassett had a hand in each score, assisting on two goals and scoring twice including the game-winner. Sunday, the Dolphins were handed their first A-Sun loss of 2011, falling 3-0 at ETSU. North Florida lost to ETSU 2-1 Friday, despite three Megan Dorsey saves and an 18th minute goal from Carolina Lencina. The Ospreys bounced back Sunday with a 2-0 win against Upstate. Kathryne Husted scored twice and Rachel Beninati made five saves for the shutout victory.
Last Time Against This Week’s Opponent
Lipscomb lost to both North Florida and Jacksonville in 2010. Danielle Bethke scored a goal and Erin Zerio made four saves, but two North Florida goals in the first 11 minutes of action proved too much for the Lady Bisons to overcome. Two days later, Jacksonville defeated the Lady Bisons 3-0. Liz Fink, the second-leading active scorer in the A-Sun, assisted on two of the goals.
Lipscomb Makes History with First-Ever Win Against Rival Belmont
Katie Wood headed in the game-winner in the 77th minute and Erin Zerio made seven saves in Lipscomb’s first-ever win against archrival Belmont, 2-1. Kirsten Heikkinen scored in the eighth minute, the third match in a row the Lady Bisons netted the first goal. In addition to earning the program’s first-ever victory against Belmont, the Lady Bisons also won consecutive A-Sun games for the first time.
Lady Bisons Defeat Upstate Behind Goals From Bethke, McGuire
Danielle Bethke scored the game-winner in the 17th minute and assisted on Meghan McGuire’s team-leading fifth goal in the 20th to earn Lipscomb their first Atlantic Sun victory since Oct. 23, 2009. Zerio made five saves for her first shutout of the campaign.
Lady Bisons Moving Up the All-Time Lists
Several Lady Bisons are moving up the career lists as the regular season winds down. McGuire is tied for third all-time with eight career goals and is one point behind Hallie Proffitt for third all-time. Bethke overtook Proffitt for second all-time in shots with 84 and is seven behind Melissa Chambers for most all-time. Erin Zerio broke the 200-save barrier two weeks ago; at 208 in her career, she’s just 10 behind Adrienne Childers for second all-time.