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Wednesday, June 16, 2010The Lipscomb Bisons soccer team better be in shape and ready to kick this season.
There are no breathers in the 2010 schedule which begins on the road at Louisville, a prelude of the difficulty of the remaining games on the schedule.
“It’s a pretty tough schedule early on,” Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow said. “We will be tested early.
“The players have to get themselves prepared over the summer. The guys know if they come in and they haven’t been playing and training at a high level they are not going to be in the mix that first weekend. Guys that play well that first weekend are more likely to get some playing time the second weekend.”
On Aug. 21, approximately a week after the Bisons return to campus for preseason workouts, they will be on the road at Louisville. The next week, Aug. 28, they will play another exhibition game with a visit to Georgia State in Atlanta.
“We played Louisville in an exhibition game last season and the year before we played them in the regular season,” Morrow said. “They are good a team and they are only three hours away.
“They enjoy playing us. They get something out of it. We will have only been in preseason for about a week before we play them.”
The regular season opens with one of the biggest challenges of the season. The Bisons will be in Dallas, Texas Sept. 4 to play host Southern Methodist, a perennial collegiate power, in the first round of the SMU Invitational. The second round game won’t be any easier as the Bisons will face Tulsa Sept. 6.
“That will be a tough opening weekend,” Morrow said. “SMU is a talented team. They are thought of being one of the better programs in the country. Tulsa is also a very, very good team.”
The final two tournaments of the season will both be played along Belmont Boulevard. The Bisons will face Gardner-Webb, a former Atlantic Sun Conference team, Sept. 10; and Centenary College Sept. 12 in the Belmont Invitational.
The Bisons’ second annual Hyatt Place Select/Lipscomb Invitational field will include UAB, Belmont and UNC-Asheville, the defending champion from the inaugural season. The Bisons will face UNC-Asheville Sept. 17 and UAB Sept. 19 in the tournament.
“We wanted to have Asheville in the tournament again this season because they won it last year,” Morrow said. “We want to get the trophy back.”
The Bisons close out the non-conference portion of the season when they visit Xavier in Cincinnati, Ohio Sept. 24 and Bowling Green in Bowling Green, Ohio Sept. 26.
“They both have fairly new coaches,” Morrow said. “We don’t know a lot about either one of them, but that both programs have traditionally been good. They should be good tune-ups for going into the conference part of the season.”
The Bisons open a string of nine straight Atlantic Sun Conference games Oct. 1 when Florida Gulf Coast visits the Lipscomb Soccer Complex. The Bisons will also host Stetson Oct.3, USC-Upstate Oct. 22 and ETSU Oct. 24.
“We expect to have some big events associated with every Friday night home game,” Morrow said.
The Bisons will play conference road games at Jacksonville Oct. 8, North Florida Oct. 10 and Belmont Oct. 14. The Bisons close out the regular season on the road at Mercer Oct. 28 and at Campbell Oct. 30.
“The parity has been so great,” Morrow said. “The difference between the top teams and the middle of the pack is so slim.
“It could be any number of teams this season. It will probably come down to the teams that have a presence as far as attacking and scoring goals, but it will also be about the teams making the fewest mistakes defensively.”
The Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament begins Nov. 6 with games at the sites of the high seeds. The semifinals will be played Nov. 11 and the finals are scheduled Nov. 13 with all games to be hosted by the highest remaining seeds.
“I like our schedule,” Morrow said. “It is a tough schedule, but I like how we match up with a lot of the teams. It will be interesting.”
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.