Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Battle of the Boulevard

We had 9 days between our game with Western Kentucky and Lipscomb. It was an opportunity for some of the injured players to rest and get healthy. It was an opportunity to improve in training and really prepare for our first 2 conference opponents - Lipscomb and Campbell. While I was very happy with the way the schedule was set up, I was worried that we could come out flat against Lipscomb from not having been in a game competition in over a week.

The Battle of the Blvd always makes me nervous, because Belmont has never lost to Lipscomb in women's soccer. I think you could argue both sides that this causes one team to have a psychological advantage over the other. At the beginning of a game, Lipscomb would be more motivated to win for the first time. At the end of a game, Belmont would have the advantage because we believe we would not lose. Not to ignore the physical components of the game, but I think we saw both psychological factors play out in our game last Tuesday night.

As the game got underway, I thought the team was playing well, and I would not have to be concerned about any sluggishness or lack of motivation on our part. Twenty minutes later, after 2 counter attacks and a corner kick, we were losing 2-0. Although there was plenty of time remaining, I was worried that we might be the first Belmont team to lose to Lipscomb.

We have scored some important goals on set plays this year, and Ivy heading in Jessica's free kick with 1 minute remaining in the 1st half, ranks as high as any of the others. Other set play goals this season are Annie Musacchio's penalty kick to tie Murray State in the first 5 minutes of the 2nd half. Annie's game winning direct free kick against MTSU. Charlotte heading in a corner kick from Alex Mindel ended up being the game winner against ULM. Possibly the most dramatic set play goal was Jamie Loftis heading in Erica's throw in at Western Carolina in sudden death.

Being down by only one goal at halftime, instead of two, was a big lift for us. We knew we had to be urgent, but there was no need to panic. We had a great chance to score in the first 2 minutes of the 2nd half, but it ended up taking 35 minutes for Jayme Trocino to tie the game at two.

I was most thrilled for Jamie Bullock to score the winning goal against Lipscomb in her senior year. It was just over a minute into the 1st overtime period, and she took a shot that she had been passing up most of the game from about 20 yards out. The Lipscomb goalkeeper is the 2007 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year and she is not easy to beat with shots from distance, but Jamie has scored 2 great goals on her 2 years in a row. I thought for a senior to get the game winner in overtime against our biggest rival was sweet. Hopefully, we will have more feel good stories this season.

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