Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Battle of the Boulevard

There is nothing fun about playing Lipscomb. If Lipscomb played that well and that hard against all of their opponents, they would have a winning record. We were somewhat lucky that we did not give up a goal in the 1st half. We were outshot 11-3 in the first half. Sari did a great job to keep it 0-0 at halftime.

As in the last 2 games, we were ready to play in the 2nd half. Even though we had a lot of pressure on Lipscomb in front of their goal, the Lipscomb players were willing to do whatever it took to keep the ball out of the net. They slid, dove, and threw their bodies in front of shots. In the end, it was our 2nd win over Lipscomb by more than one goal in 5 years.

As I prepared our team for Lipscomb, I told them about the one goal games, the comebacks, overtime, the great saves, and the effort. If I wanted to motivate my team by using fear, I would tell them that Belmont has NEVER lost to Lipscomb. It definitely scares me. I don’t want to be the coach of the first team that loses to Lipscomb. I am safe for one more year.

I am not sure why the conference scheduled the game at Lipscomb again this year after we played there last year, but it was a good atmosphere, and many of our players knew what to expect. There is a wall that runs behind one of the endlines from the sideline to the goal. Last year, Lipscomb students sat on that wall and yelled mean things at our players during the entire game. Lipscomb scored 2 goals in that goal while their fans harassed our players. This year, we had some smart players that made sure only Belmont fans were going to sit on the wall.

Unfortunately, the conference rules only allow us to travel with 22 players, even to Lipscomb. We have 27 players on the roster, so I had 5 players that could not dress or sit on the bench for the game. They came early during the warm up and sat on the wall. As their friends arrived, the wall kept filling up with Belmont students. Coincidentally, we scored both of our goals in the goal in front of the wall. It was a smart move by players who could have copped an attitude because they were not allowed to be on the bench with the team.

It makes me very happy when our players support each other in such a positive manner.

We only lost 3 regular season conference games last year, and one of those losses was to ETSU. We are getting ready for them on Friday. I hope you can come to the game.

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