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#6 Lipscomb (6-8-5)
#3 Kennesaw State (9-8-1)
11/2/2013 | Kennesaw, Ga. | Attendance: 641
Saturday, November 02, 2013
KENNESAW, Ga. – All good things must come to an end.
That is what happened Saturday night for the Lipscomb women’s soccer team, which had a year to remember posting program bests for wins and nearly every offensive and defensive category.
Playing in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament for the first time in school history, the No. 6 Lady Bisons fell 1-0 to No. 3 Kennesaw State at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga.
Although the outcome wasn’t what was hoped for, Lipscomb head coach Kevin O’Brien found optimism for the future with the young squad playing in a tournament atmosphere.
“It’s very good for the direction of the program and where we are headed,” O’Brien said. “We have a lot of young players that got their first experience playing in a conference championship environment.
“Hopefully that will only help us as we move forward. That kind of experience is invaluable. However, there is a sting right now as it is a tough game to lose.”
The Achilles heel of the Lady Bisons over the season has been giving up set piece goals.
In the fifth minute the Owls notched a goal off a corner kick. Jewelia Strickland sent a corner kick sailing to the far post where Nicole Calder put a head on the ball but was blocked by a Lady Bison defender.
The ensuing rebound bounced to the feet of Shannon Driscoll who punched it into the net.
“Kennesaw is a good team,” O’Brien said. "They have a dominant player in the conference. Part of the game plan was to not allow Calder to get her head on it. That was just impossible. She was great and really led her team to victory.”
After a mishap in the box in the 55th minute, Kennesaw State was awarded a penalty kick. Freshman goalkeeper Anna Buhigas stopped Alma Gardarstottir’s shot and briefly gave a momentum shift to the Purple and Gold.
In the following run of play, sophomore Caroline Chadwell attempted a shot from 20 yards out that went just high of the goal.
Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team member Anna Buhigas had nine saves for the Lady Bisons. Kennesaw State’s Olivia Sturdivant, also a member of the All-Freshman Team, stopped all three shots she faced.
With the season ending abruptly, O’Brien looked back and was happy with the way the young team meshed.
“I’m just thrilled at all the work that they put in,” O’Brien said. “It is difficult to gel 14 new freshmen into a team, and it was a process.
“The strides that we made were incredible but every player still has room to grow.”
O’Brien is excited about the squad improving and what that means for the future of the program.
“If each player can individually get better, collectively we’ll be better next year,” O’Brien said. “That is something to be excited about.”
Lipscomb ends the season 6-8-5 overall and posted a 3-3-3 record during A-Sun play, both bests in school history. Kennesaw State improves to 9-8-1 after posting a 5-3-1 league record.
With the loss, the Lady Bisons bid farewell to seniors Kelsey Reiman, Callie Cavanaugh, Martika Powe and Stephanie Romero who took the pitch for the last time for Lipscomb.