Tarr's Game-Winner Leads Men's Soccer Past MSU 2-1
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Belmont men's soccer team (1-0-0) defeated Missouri State (0-1-0) by a score of 2-1 to open the season with a win for the first time since the Bruins' 11-win season of 2008.
Junior Brandon Tarr (Knoxville, Tenn.) scored the fourth game-winning goal of his career, heading in a shot with only 17 seconds remaining in regulation. The two-time all-conference honoree tallied the 16th goal of his career after entering the game as a sub in the 77th minute of play.
Sophomore Diego Figueroa (Pensacola, Fla.) took a free kick inside the final minute of regulation with game tied at 1-1. His placement found the head of senior T.J. Brown (Hendersonville, Tenn.) who directed the ball back across the box to Tarr, who finished it and gave BU the victory. Both Figueroa and Brown recorded assists on the play.
"Diego played in a really dangerous ball," Head Coach Earle Davidson said of the game-winning play. "Brandon Tarr stepped up and finished it nicely. That's what Brandon does."
Sophomore Alex Jenison (Evansville, Ind.) opened the scoring with his first career goal in the 21st minute of play. It was Brown again tallying the assist, as his long ball behind the defense found the foot of Jenison, who one-touched it past the MSU goalkeeper to give Belmont the early lead.
"We've been working a lot on the movement of our forwards off the ball," Davidson continued. "A.J. was patient, made a fantastic run, and finished with a terrific goal."
Missouri State tied the game at 1-1 less than 15 minutes later. Dan Williams sent a corner into the box, which was headed on by Thomas Vania and finally put away by Jared Gain. The Bears went into the half with a huge advantage in shots and a 2-0 lead in corner kicks.
It was all for not though, as the Bruins capitalized with two goals on their five total shots. Missouri finished with 19 shots, but BU junior goalkeeper Lou Manning (Southlake, Texas) recorded six saves to help secure the victory.
"We spent a lot of time in the spring, and a lot of time in preseason, making sure that we earn it," Davidson said. "This is notoriously one of the toughest places to play in the country, and we did exactly what we need to do to earn this victory."
The Bruins will next return home for the first men's soccer contest to be played at the new E.S. Rose Park on September 1. Belmont will host Memphis at 6:00 p.m.