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Bisons, Belmont prepare for soccer version of "Battle of the Boulevard"

Friday, September 29, 2006

Sept. 29, 2006

The Lipscomb and Belmont men's soccer teams have been called two of the hottest teams in the Atlantic Sun Conference.

But as the two teams prepare to meet at Belmont Saturday afternoon at 2 Lipscomb coach Charles Morrow isn't sure that the temperature level of his team has reached the hot level despite a 3-1-1 record in the last five games.

"Right now we are both playing schedules that would lead us to be hot going into conference play," said Morrow. "Some of the tougher teams that we played were early on. There are several teams in the conference that are doing well.

"I don't feel like we are hot. I feel like we are getting better, but there is still a lot of work to be done."

This is the first conference game for both teams. With the rivalry a heated one between the two schools in every sport, Morrow wonders what the game will bring as his team attempts to end Belmont's four-game winning streak.

"I don't think anybody is really satisfied with the way we are playing," said Morrow. "But the fact that we have been able to get results has definitely built some confidence. We are well aware of that going into conference play."

Morrow is looking for his team to put together a consistent game in which every part of the team is playing at top form.

"Our backs will play well one game," said Morrow. "Our midfielders will play great one game, but we won't get any production out of our forwards. The next game the forwards and midfielders will play great, but the defenders will make mistakes.

"We are looking for everything to come together with a solid game from everybody. The ability of the guys to find ways to win has been good. I just they weren't so dramatic with five overtime games."

Based on the stats for both teams it would appear the game will be the "Battle of the Goalkeepers" instead of the "Battle of the Boulveard".

Both Lipscomb's Danny Prichard has two shutouts, second in the A-Sun, and a 1.54 goals allowed per game average. Belmont's Kyle Roelke leads the A-Sun with three shutouts. He has a 1.77 goals allowed per game average. Belmont has shut out three of its last four opponents and given up only one goal during that stretch.

"It could be a battle of the goalkeepers, but I don't necessarily think it will go that way," said Morrow. "It is hard to say what will happen."

Lipscomb forward Ben Page leads the A-Sun in game winning goals with three. He is fifth in both points (11) and points per game (1.22).

"I don't think anybody could have predicted what Ben has done," said Morrow. "He played good for us last year. The difference in some of his success from this year to last year is that teams just can't concentrate on him. When they do that then other players will hurt them. It takes a little bit of pressure off of him.

"He is smarter. He is more experienced. He has a better supporting cast."

Belmont, 4-5-1, holds an 8-1-0 advantage in the series against Lipscomb, 4-4-1, this season. Six of the wins by Belmont have been shutouts.