The “Battle of the Boulevard” men’s soccer trophy will remain with the Lipscomb Bisons.
Junior Deven Bahadoorsingh scored the game-winning goal with less than nine minutes remaining to lift the Bisons (3-8-2, 2-1-0 in the Atlantic Sun) to an epic 2-1 victory over cross town nemesis Belmont (5-6-1, 1-1-1 A-Sun) in one of the rivalry’s most thrilling match-ups.
The Lipscomb defense set an early tone against the Bruins. Though averaging nearly 13 shots per contest, Belmont was held without a shot attempt in the first half. The same would not be true of Lipscomb, which got 10 shots away and put six on goal in the opening stanza.
In the 22nd minute, the Bisons Nick Bibb scored his season’s fourth goal, collecting the rebound off a Joey Chiappetta shot and firing it past Belmont keeper Lou Manning for the score.
In two meetings with the Bruins in his career, Bibb has collected two goals. Chiappetta added to his ever-increasing numbers against the Bruins and now has two goals and three assists all-time against the Bruins.
The game’s physicality picked up in the second half. In the 58th minute, a skirmish in the corner led to a yellow card for Lipscomb’s Omar Djabi and a straight red to Belmont’s Will Moorad.
Going a man down did nothing to deter Belmont; the desperation of being a man down and a goal behind pushed the Bruins offense to respond. Though Belmont did not attempt a shot until the 50-minute mark, the Bruins would attempt six shots in the second half, five coming after the Bruins went a man down.
Belmont’s Brandon Tarr broke through for the Bruins in the 70th minute with his season’s eighth goal, heading a long cross from TJ Brown into the upper right corner and just past the outstretched fingers of Lipscomb netminder Brent McGee.
Lipscomb picked up the offensive pace after Tarr’s equalizer; with not just bragging rights but potentially A-Sun tournament seeding up for grabs, the Bisons couldn’t afford to leave points on the field against a short-handed Bruins side.
Thanks to Bahadoorsingh, there would be no ties in this one. On a cross from Kyle Erickson, senior Garret Pettis headed the ball back to Bahadoorsingh, who drove a shot in that deflected off at least one player before rolling past Manning into the bottom left corner of the net for his career’s first goal as well as the game-winner.
Pettis picked up two assists in his final “Battle of the Boulevard”; the senior will end his career as one of the most productive players in the rivalry’s history, scoring four goals and assisting on three others in four career games against Belmont.
McGee picked up his second win over Belmont, stopping three shots. Though saddled with the loss, Manning made six tough saves for the Bruins.
Lipscomb hopes to continue its winning ways in the A-Sun next weekend, when they play host to Jacksonville (Oct. 14, 7 p.m.) and North Florida (Oct. 16, 2 p.m.)
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