NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After entering the break with a lead, the Lipscomb men’s soccer team surrendered three second-half goals and dropped a 3-1 decision in the home opener to Eastern Illinois Sunday night at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
“We missed a lot of opportunities tonight,” Lipscomb head coach Charles Morrow said. “Quite honestly, after the way we played early on, this was a game that we never should have lost.”
Lipscomb came out of the gate on the attack and quickly put EIU's Mike Novotny under fire between the pipes. The Bisons fired off six shots in the first 15 minutes of action but were held off the scoreboard by Novotny's four saves.
Sophomore Ivan Alvarado was finally able to break through for Lipscomb (0-2) in the 22nd minute with a chip shot that was perfectly placed over the keeper's head for his first goal of the season. Junior Kevin McMahon aided the strike by drawing Novotny off his line far enough to slide a pass to Alvarado for the assist.
Lipscomb entered the break with a decisive 10-3 advantage in shot attempts and all of the momentum in its favor.
However, the Panthers (1-1) quickly showed the second half would be a much different game. Early in the period EIU swung the energy in its favor with two goals in a span of two minutes.
Tyler Oliver found the equalizer for EIU in the 49thminute on a loose ball in the box before his brother, Justin Oliver, came up with a missed clearance 10 yards out and struck a drive into the upper right corner for a 2-1 Panther edge.
“The first half was so good for us that they guys might have had mindset that Eastern Illinois would just roll over, but they didn’t,” Morrow said. “We go from leading to trailing over a five-minute span. I think that was the difference maker in the game for us.”
At the 64:08 mark EIU closed the scoring as Dominic Recca finished a Panthers counter attack with an 8-yard strike off a grounded feed from Tyler Oliver - his third point of the evening.
“You have to give Eastern Illinois credit, they came on strong early in the second half and got a quick goal on a counter attack and then they score again a couple of minutes later.
“Our group, so far this season, is a group that has not reacted to adversity very well. When we have hit adversity, things begin to go bad for us, we hit the panic button. That is something we have to work on and get better at as a group so we can move forward and get better."
With time ticking away and Lipscomb trailing by two goals, Morrow brought the offense forward trying to put pressure on the Panthers in search of scoring opportunities.
Those opportunities were there, but every good look found a way to be denied.
In the 67th minute redshirt senior Matt Kerridge fired a shot that clanged off the right post. Moments later, sophomore defender Cameron Botes sent an attempt towards the net from the 8-yard box but EIU's goaltender Mike Novotny slid to his left for the save. In the 87th minute Kerridge once again got a great look but his header sailed off the crossbar and with it any hopes of a Bison comeback.
Lipscomb returns to action on Thursday Sept. 3 when the No. 16 Xavier Musketeers visit the Music City. Kick off for the midweek tilt at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex is set for 7 p.m.