NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb men’s soccer team clinched a berth in the Atlantic Sun Tournament by tying the visiting Mercer Bears 1-1 on a soggy Thursday night at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
Lipscomb (4-11-3, 3-4-1 in the A-Sun) collected its 10th point in the conference standings with the tie. The Bisons are currently in fourth place. Mercer (7-6-3, 2-3-2 A-Sun) could move ahead of the Bisons if they defeat Belmont, Sunday.
The Bisons got on the board in the 21st minute. Senior Garret Pettis booted the ball past Mercer’s Greg Ranjitsingh for his ninth of the season after a weaving run through the defense. It was the first goal Ranjitsingh had allowed in his past four contests.
For Pettis, the goal capped another monumental regular season and cemented his place in the Lipscomb record books. The goal was the 33rd of the Elizabethtown, Pa. native’s career, moving him past Miguel DaSilva and into sole possession of first place all-time in Lipscomb Division I history.
The Bisons would hold the lead at halftime, but would be equaled early in the second half. Mercer’s Ryan King received a pass from Ehjayson Henry and beat senior Brent McGee to the far post for his season’s third goal.
The match became a defensive struggle following the tying goal; with both sides in desperate need of a positive result out of the night, neither wanted to fall behind again. Lipscomb senior Andrew Chamberlain drew the best chance of the second half, firing a shot from around 20 yards out that smacked the crossbar and bounced away.
What had been a forceful, physical confrontation to that point turned downright nasty following Chamberlain’s near-miss. In the 87th minute, Lipscomb’s Edvaldo Pedro and Mercer’s Josh Shutter were both cautioned by the referee. Shutter would subsequently be red carded, leaving Mercer a man down the rest of the way.
The Bears entered overtime on the attack; although a man down, Mercer took three shots in the first overtime period. Lipscomb’s Matt Kerridge also picked up a yellow card in the first overtime.
The Bisons got away three shots against the Bears in the second overtime, including another near-miss from Chamberlain in the 107th minute. The senior fired from the left side, but Ranjitsingh slid over and just got enough of the ball to deflect it off the post. That would be the last good look either side got in the game.
This game was also the final regular season home contest played by Lipscomb’s five seniors. Pettis, Chamberlain, Drew Longinotti, Brent McGee and Evan McGee were all in the starting line-up and were honored by the fans in attendance prior to the game.
The Bisons await their next opponent, whom they will face in Johnson City, Tenn. The Atlantic Sun Tournament begins Wednesday, Nov. 9 and is hosted by ETSU.
Check LipscombSports.com for more information on the Bison soccer team, and be sure to follow us on Twitter (@LUMSoccer) and like us on Facebook (Lipscomb University Men’s Soccer Team).