August 19, 20161st2nd1OT 2OT Final
LIP15:23DOAK, Olivia (DUBOISE, Natalie )
BU42:19Whalen, Grace (Ferrari, Heather )
BUZinser, Sydney45:0010
BUHerman, Lily65:0005
LIPBUHIGAS, Anna110:0016
Stats at a GlanceBULIP
Shots (on Goal)18 (7) 14 (6)
Corner Kicks46
Yellow Cards11
Battle of the Boulevard ends in a tie for women's soccer
Friday, August 19, 2016
By Mark McGee
Battle of the Boulevard ends in a tie for women's soccer

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There were two things that didn’t surprise Lipscomb coach Kevin O’Brien about his team’s first game of the season.

First, he knew Belmont was going to be a much improved team. Second, he knew that freshman forward Olivia Doak was more than ready to start on the NCAA Division I level.

Friday night in the women’s soccer version of the “Battle of the Boulevard,” Lipscomb and Belmont fought through regulation and two overtimes, a total of 110 minutes, for a 1-1 tie. It was the regular season opener for both teams at a muggy Lipscomb Soccer Complex.

Doak put the Lady Bisons on the scoreboard first when she scored on a header from in the box off of a cross by midfielder Natalie Duboise at 15:23 of the first half. It was Doak's first career goal in the Purple and Gold. 

“Olivia played well,” O’Brien said. “She got a lot of minutes. I knew when we recruited her that she was ready-made. She is as big as most Division I strikers.

“She is a handful athletically. She is quick and powerful. She has a great work ethic. She is a wonderful addition. We are excited about her.”

Doak had started in the three preseason games, so it wasn’t a complete shock for her to be named a starter in the first regulation game of the season. Midfielder Leah Cernicky, also a freshman, started as well.

“It was surreal,” Doak said. “It is an honor to represent this university and play for a higher purpose.

“I knew I had to earn my spot coming in. But I knew I had a good chance because I have worked hard to be here.”

Belmont tied the game at 42:19 of the first half on a header by midfielder Grace Whalen off of a corner kick from defender Heather Ferrari.

“It was a wonderful header,” O’Brien said. “The girl just attacked it. Unfortunately for us she hit it perfectly.”

Ties are seldom a desired outcome. O’Brien was not excited with some of the things he saw from his team.

 “It was a tough game,” O’Brien said. “It was kind of messy with a lot of turnover possessions.

“I thought Belmont came out very sharp and very good in the first half for about 10 minutes. Then I thought we tipped the scales in our direction.”

In the second half the game was like two prize fighters exchanging blows. But neither team could land the knockout goal, a pattern that continued through the two overtimes.

“It was end to end to end,” O’Brien said. “They would create a chance. We would create a chance. Then they would create another chance.”

Doak led the Lady Bisons in shots with five, including two shots on goal.

“It was good to get my first goal” Doak said. “It was a great assist from Natalie.

“But I remember the goal I missed after I scored more. I should have had that one.”

Belmont outshot Lipscomb 18-14 and held a 7-6 edge in shots on goal.

“Hats off to Belmont,” O’Brien said. “They are far more competitive and more athletic than they have been. I knew it, and they showed me what I saw coming.”

Lipscomb goalkeeper Anna Buhigas turned away six shots. Belmont started with Sydney Zinser in goal. She gave up the goal to Doak and did not have a save. Lily Herman played the final 65 minutes and stopped five shots.

The Lady Bisons are back in action Sunday against Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.

“We have to get better on set pieces defensively,” O’Brien said. “We have to create a little bit more offensively through movement. I felt like we were a little bit static and they were able to defend us at times too easily. But we had two one-on-one breakaways, and we couldn’t quite take the shot we needed to put them in the back of the net.

“It was a good first game in that we are learning lessons. But we have to make some really quick improvements because we have a very talented Vanderbilt team next.”