Men's Soccer Vanquished by Lipscomb in Atlantic Sun Tournament
FORT MYERS, Fla. – It was a physical battle that included seven cards between the sixth-seeded Jacksonville University men’s soccer team and third-seeded Lipscomb Bisons on Wednesday afternoon in the opening round of the Atlantic Sun Championship. But in the end, a 62nd minute goal sent the Bisons through to the semifinals, where they will meet the No. 2 seed, East Tennessee State. Luke Gearin nodded home a header off a short corner for the game-winner.

On a gusty day that played havoc with both teams’ offensive plans, the match took a turn within eight minutes as both Lipscomb’s Omar Djabi and Jacksonville’s Valentine Murombo were shown yellow by the referee.

The chippiness between the squads continued later in the half, with both teams picking up one more yellow card each before the break. The match went into halftime scoreless, with each team attempting four shots in the opening 45 minutes.

Gearin netted his fifth goal of the season in the 62nd minute. Zander El-Hindi played a short corner cross toward the middle and Gearin headed the ball past JU goalkeeper Gavin Carlin. The senior recorded one save in the match.

The Dolphins nearly leveled the proceedings in the 76th minute, but Christian Hernandez saw his shot rattle off the crossbar. Just three minutes later, Djabi, the A-Sun Player of the Year, was shown a red card after receiving his second yellow of the day. Jacksonville had 11 minutes left to press for the tying score with the man-advantage, but managed just one shot, which was wide left off the foot of Matheus Saroli.

Sophomore Nathan Dalton led Jacksonville with three shots, two of which were on target. Saroli followed with two, while Griffin Kelly, Juan Manuel Arguedas, Ivo Lima and Hernandez all shot once.

“Soccer is a game where all the little details make a huge difference,” said Head Coach Ryan Pratt. “Tonight, we made one mistake and were punished for it. We created chances to both take the lead early in the game (prior to the goal) and tie the game late. Unfortunately for us, their goalkeeper was up to the challenge and made a few very good saves.”

“I want to thank our seniors – Gui, Nick, and Gavin – for all their work…they have been great leaders. I hope our guys can take away some of the lessons they can learn from each of them as we move forward.”

With the loss, the Fins finish their season at 4-11-3 overall.