FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Lipscomb (12-4-4) women’s soccer team’s season came to an end on Sunday afternoon with a 5-0 loss to FGCU (13-5-2) in Fort Myers in the Atlantic Sun Championships Final.
“It was an uncharacteristic game for us,” Lipscomb women’s soccer head coach Kevin O’Brien said. “But you have to give credit to Gulf Coast. They were very dynamic and potent on the attacking side. They scored some great goals.”
The Lady Bisons held the Eagles scoreless for the first 32 minutes of the match before giving up two quick goals in the final moments of the first half.
The A-Sun Player of the Year Tabby Tindell first put FGCU on the board with a header, with a score from sophomore Nikki Hudson following soon after to give the Eagles a 2-0 halftime lead.
“I’m disappointed, not about the result, but more for your players,” O’Brien said. “They put in an incredible amount of work all season. They reached the championship for the first time, and then went out in a way that isn’t like us because we’ve always been very strong and hard to break defensively. I hurt for them. Hopefully they’ll be able to move past it pretty quick, and realize what a great season it’s been.”
FGCU struck again at the start of the second half. In the 49th minute Junior Paulina Speckmaier rocketed in a shot from the right side of the box. Ten minutes later, senior Ally Kasun squeaked in a goal that ricocheted in off the bar. Speckmaier added a second goal with ten minutes to go to give the Eagles five goals on the day.
Senior Alex Hickey, junior Niamh Rawlins, and sophomore Jade Abarca were named to the A-Sun All-Tournament Team for the Purple and Gold, the most members Lipscomb has ever placed on the All-Tournament Team.
For Hickey and fellow seniors Emily Shuler, Caroline Chadwell, and Molly Bray, it was the last time they would suit up in the Purple and Gold.
“I absolutely love the seniors,” O’Brien said. “They’ve given so much to this program. They were recruited by another coach. They stuck in when the new coaching staff was announced from the beginning. It was really impressive. We wouldn’t be the program we are today without the wonderful contributions from the senior class. I wish them the best in their future endeavors.”
Despite the results of the championship game, O’Brien notes that the year has been a great success for the Lady Bisons.
“I can tell you what I told the group: For me, this has been the most enjoyable season that I’ve had as a coach,” O’Brien said. “It was truly a special group of players that care about each other on a deeper level than just as a teammate. It’s been remarkable, and really enjoyable. In the end, it’s a work of God to have the unity and togetherness that we have.
“It was a really special year, and I still think the best is yet to come.”
- Lipscomb finished the season with a program-best 12 wins as well as the Lady Bisons’ first A-Sun postseason win and Finals appearance.
- Lipscomb was outshot 23 to 6 by FGCU’s explosive offense, with an 11-2 shots on goal difference.
- Hickey led the Purple and Gold with two shots, including one on goal, pushing her season totals to 30 and 20, respectively.
- Junior goalkeeper Anna Buhigas notched six saves in the game, pushing her season total to 100.