NASHVILLE – Lipscomb (5-2-3) women’s soccer kicked off the Nike Invitational with a commanding 2-0 shutout of the Akron Zips (3-3-1) on Saturday night at home.
“I’m very pleased,” women’s soccer head coach Kevin O’Brien said. “It was a complete performance. I thought we defended well as a group, and created some good goal-scoring chances. I though the two goals were excellent.”
In her first game back from injury, Jade Abarca made an immediate impact. The sophomore scored the Lady Bisons’ first goal of the game off of a perfectly placed ball from freshman Maycie McKay less than five minutes into the contest.
“Maycie was dangerous all night on the flanks,” O’Brien said. “I thought the delivery of the ball was about as good as it could be.
“To have Jade back in the team, even though she only had limited minutes tonight. She changes us. She makes us a better soccer team. The way she took the volley was beautiful.”
With fifteen minutes to go in the first half, Emily Shuler added to the Lipscomb lead with a thunderous shot sent in from deep into the upper right corner of the net. The senior defender, who notched two similar goals from long range in 2014, gave Lipscomb a lead they would not relinquish.
“Emily Shuler’s goal was not surprising because she had two last year from distance,” O’Brien said. “But, whenever you see a ball struck that purely from that distance you get excited. The team got excited. I think that gave us great momentum to finish the half on. I think the momentum carried us through the rest of the match.”
Junior goalkeeper Anna Buhigas and the defense have picked up seven shutouts in ten games so far in 2015. With five saves on the night, Buhigas has extended her Atlantic Sun-leading total to 55.
- After her assist on the first goal, her second of the year, McKay now leads the team with 12 points. She also leads the Lady Bisons with five goals, 27 shots and 13 shots on goal.
- Lipscomb and Akron finished with the same number of shots (14) and shots on goal (5) in what was a fast-paced matchup.
- Natalie DuBoise led the Lady Bisons with four shots and tied Abarca for the most shots on goal with two.
- Abarca’s goal was her first of 2015 after missing five games due to an injury.
- Tonight’s tilt was the first between the Zips and the Lady Bisons since the Purple and Gold entered Division I.
- Lipscomb’s opponent for Saturday, Western Carolina, defeated UT-Martin 3-0 in the night’s early game.
UP NEXT: The Lady Bisons will close out the Nike Invitational against Western Carolina on Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled to directly follow the Akron vs. UT-Martin tilt.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” O’Brien said. “The coaches are friends of mine. They’ve got a very athletic, hard-working, physical team. They’re very dangerous. We’re going to have our hands full, but we’re excited. It should be a great match.”