Final Score: Lipscomb 5, Jacksonville State 0
Location: Nashville, Tenn. (Lipscomb Soccer Complex)
Records: Lipscomb (11-5-2), Jacksonville State (3-13-2)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (lipscombsports.com) – After a slow start in which Jacksonville State logged the first shot of the match, the Bisons threw it into high gear and celebrated their Senior Night with a 5-0 shutout over the Gamecocks. A different member of Lipscomb's squad scored each of the five goals, including sophomore Kendall Wade's first career goal and Marcella Cash's first goal as a Bison.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Gamecocks pressured the Bisons from the get-go as they recorded the first shot of the match just over five minutes into play while holding off the Bisons' offense with a well-placed back line to draw three offside calls against Lipscomb in the first eight minutes. Lipscomb quickly found their feet and began knocking on the door with back-to-back shots from Grace Oliver and Kelli Beiler at the 10-minute mark.
Once the Bisons hit their stride, the shots began pouring in with Tori Wheeler, Shelby Craft, Faith Adams, and Kale'a Perry all recorded at least one shot as the time crept higher. Junior Emanuela Schurch was the first to make her mark on the scoresheet with a header buried into an open net in the 38th minute of action. The assist for her goal went to Craft as she headed the ball towards Schurch on a chip up from Adams.
Perry and sophomore Lydia Hindt added two more shots to the Bisons tally for a 13-3 shot count in the first half, but the score remained at 1-0 heading into the break. The Purple and Gold came out swinging once play resumed with four shots on target in the first two minutes of play from Perry, Oliver, Wade, and Alivia Carapazza.
Jacksonville State responded to the pressure with a shot on goal of their own, but the Bisons refused to back down. Grace Oliver delivered a quick shot with her right foot to a pass Kale'a Perry put into play on a dropped ball. Two minutes later Perry recorded her second assist of the match as she sent a cross through the 18-yard box and found Shelby Craft to extend Lipscomb's lead to 3-0.
The Beavercreek, Ohio native Marcella Cash recorded her first goal as a Bison and her second career goal at the 62-minute mark as she danced around Jacksonville State's defenders to send her shot screaming into the left side of the net from just outside the top of the box.
Sophomore Kendall Wade cemented the Bisons' dominant showing with a header to finish off a free kick from Faith Adams for the first goal of her career. Jacksonville State put up two shots in the final minutes of play, but neither landed on target and Lipscomb held on to their 5-0 lead through the final whistle.
Sophomore goalkeeper CJ Graham earned her seventh shutout of the season with four saves made. Graham stood strong against direct shots that came straight for her as well as making some leaping saves to keep Jacksonville State from finding the back of the net.
- Emanuela Schurch's goal marks her first of the season and career third, putting her at five points for the season.
- Grace Oliver's goal stands as her second of the season and her career third.
- Shelby Craft led the Bisons with four shots in the contest, two of which landed on goal. Her goal marks the fifth of the season for the defender and her 10th career goal.
- Marcella Cash landed both of her shots on target against the Gamecocks. Her goal marks her first as a Bison and her second career goal, her first was scored while she was at Mississippi State on March 13, 2021, against Arkansas State.
- In the fifth start of her career, Kendall Wade found the back of the net with her header in the 73rd minute of play.
- CJ Graham faced seven shots and added four saves to her tally for a total of 60 saves so far this season.
HEAD COACH KEVIN O'BRIEN ON THE MATCH AND LOOKING TO THE POSTSEASON:
"I'm really excited that we could send our seniors off the way we did tonight. It's been a tough season with some of those girls being injured, not being able to see out their final year.
For the other players that have stepped up and stepped into their roles, it's just fantastic to see the team grow and develop the way we have. Our record, if I'm being honest, has not been fantastic on Senior Nights over the course of my 10 years here, so to get a real positive result with lots of girls scoring and creating momentum going to the playoffs is the best thing we can do for ourselves, so we're excited about that.
We're excited that we get to have a postseason. There are a lot of teams across the country that are done, and we always remind the girls that every time we get a chance to step on the field and play together it's a privilege, so we're thrilled about the opportunity.
I don't know how it'll play out over the next two days, but that's not really our concern. We're just going to prepare and be concerned about us – developing what we're doing well, developing some of the players that have stepped into roles that have been vacated by injuries – and then we'll go out and give it our best effort.
I'm excited! I'll be watching closely over the next two days to see who the matchup is going be, but postseason is awesome. It's just a wonderful experience for the kids and to play for something like an NCAA tournament is really special, so we're thankful that our team gets to do that and we're excited to prepare for it."
The Bisons will embark on their post-season journey on Thursday, Oct. 27. Their opponent and location remain to be determined by results across the conference this weekend.
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