LOUISVILLE, Ky. (LipscombSports.com) – The Lipscomb women's soccer team second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament ended on Friday night as the Bisons fell to Louisville, 1-0 in the first round.
The Bisons got off to a slow start offensively as they were called for offsides four times during the first half, which derailed any scoring opportunities.
On the other side of the ball, goalkeeper Melissa Gray had to stay active as she faced an aggressive Louisville attack. Gray faced five shots through the first 45 minutes of play and came up with four big saves, but unfortunately couldn't stop them all.
With just seconds remaining before the halftime whistle, the Cardinals earned a free kick just outside the Lipscomb box and scored off the opportunity. Sarah Hernandez dove and sent a header into the back of the net to put the Cardinals up 1-0. Emina Ekic sent in the cross to record the assist.
The second half was just as tough for the Bisons offense as they only managed a couple of more opportunities, but to no avail.
The Lipscomb backline and Gray were able to keep the Purple and Gold in the game however, as they held strong and didn't allow a goal despite the consistent attack from the Cardinals. Unfortunately, the Bisons could never break through and find an equalizer.
"In the end, Louisville is top-25 for a reason and it's because they've got very talented players and they're well coached so it wasn't a lack of anything we were doing," head coach Kevin O'Brien said. "Credit to Louisville more than anything else. We were endeavoring and trying to be aggressive on the attacking side, but they just kept stymieing everything we had."
Lipscomb ends the season with a 13-6-2 overall a record, a third straight ASUN regular season championship and a second straight ASUN Tournament championship.
"For me, I'm just so grateful to this senior class," O'Brien said. "They've really put Lipscomb soccer on the map to where I think people across the country in the Division I soccer landscape really respect what we have, what we're doing and how hard we play.
"We wouldn't have had the success' that we've had if it weren't for their willingness to commit to a program that hadn't had any success before they came and they bought into a vision that we asked for, that we could be good, that we could be a champion. They were the ones that ultimately changed this program and I'll forever be grateful to them."
- Louisville outshot Lipscomb 17-3 with a 9-2 shots-on-goal advantage
- It was the lowest shot total of the season for the Bisons
- The Cardinals earned nine corners to just one for the Bisons
- Lipscomb was called for offsides five times compared to once for Louisville
- Gray made eight saves on the night
- The senior class of Gray, Leah Cernicky, Dominique Diller, Olivia Doak, Hailey Eck, Maycie McKay, Hannah Parrish, Hannah Torbett and Danielle Van Liere will leave having won 49 career games, which is a program record
ABOUT THE ASUN
The ASUN Conference is an NCAA Division I league with nine member institutions committed to Building Winners for Life. The ASUN meets the challenge of maintaining the highest standards in academic and athletic achievement through a true balance between student and athlete. Six ASUN schools reside in Nielsen Top 50 national media markets, and all nine are in top 80 markets. The ASUN includes a blend of the most prestigious and dynamic private and public institutions in the region: Florida Gulf Coast University, Jacksonville University, Kennesaw State University, Liberty University, Lipscomb University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, University of North Alabama, University of North Florida and Stetson University. Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., joins the ASUN for the 2020-21 academic year.