MEN’s SOCCER: Toppers hope to rebound at Lipscomb

Joanie Baker

Hoping to rebound from an embarrassing preseason loss at Dayton last week, Western travels to Nashville tomorrow to face Lipscomb. The match starts at 7 p.m.

And if there’s any opponent for Western to face after a 6-0 loss, it’s Lipscomb. That’s because the Bisons have never beaten Western.

Hilltopper freshman goalkeeper Wade Roepke said the team was not quite playing together against Dayton. He hopes the defense will come out stronger and tighter against Lipscomb to make his job easier.

“Experience goes a long way,” Roepke said. “The more we keep playing and playing together, the more we come together as one.”

Coach David Holmes said he has some concerns about taking a relatively inexperienced team to a road game. He hopes the team is disciplined and mature enough to handle some of the setbacks and bad spells that happen in a game.

But with a 2-13 record last season, Lipscomb might not be a team that raises many concerns. The team has seven freshmen and only 10 returning players.

One concern may be the eight returning starters. However, those starters averaged 1.06 goals per game. Lipscomb has two junior transfers from England and Uganda. Both are defensive players and may be the Bisons’ best chance for a victory.

Lipscomb coach Jon Goad was unavailable for comment.

Sophomore defender Clay McMillan said Western has learned to be more prepared for games and is ready for Lipscomb.

“We just need to be more composed in back and not give up early goals,” McMillan said. “In the first 15 minutes it is important for us to try and get the first goal. Us going down there is a big game and it’s a big rivalry in Nashville. They are going to come out to the game all pumped up, but we’ll be just as pumped up.”

Sophomore Richard Mupfudze hopes the team concentrates on putting plenty of goals in the net. He is confident the team has grown.

“We have been coming together more,” Mupfudze said. “It is not about one person’s talent, but doing it as a team. I feel pretty well because I’d say practicing after the Dayton game opened eyes and gave us more confidence.”

With unity and confidence, the team should not have any problems winning such an important game. But McMillan won’t rest easy until the win is in the bag.

“We’re in a must win situation,” McMillan said. “It’s the beginning of our season and our first away game. We just have to play together.”

Reach Joanie Baker at [email protected]