NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont men's soccer team (5-5-0, 1-0-0) went into halftime down 1-0 to No. 24/22 ETSU (6-2-1, 0-1-0), but left with a 3-1 victory on Thursday night. It marks the first win over a ranked opponent since the Bruins topped Furman 2-1 on November 2, 2007.
The Buccaneers were getting the better of Belmont early on in the contest, taking a 1-0 advantage in the 18th minute of play. David Geno passed a ball across the box to Aaron Schoenfeld, who took one touch and beat Bruin goalkeeper Lou Manning (Southlake, Texas) to the far post.
After an ETSU player was sent off in only the third minute of the second half, Belmont played a man up for the remainder of the contest. The Bucs attempted to settle in as the period progressed, but BU patiently wore ETSU down. The Bruins played aggressively, but with plenty of possession, and in the 60th minute, junior Brandon Tarr (Knoxville, Tenn.) tied the game at 1-1.
Sophomore Nico Olsak (Boca Raton, Fla.) fed the ball through the defense to a streaking Tarr, who was one-on-one with goalkeeper Ryan Coulter. The feisty forward put it past the goaltender to tie the game, and put the advantage well on the Bruins side.
As the shots and scoring opportunities continued to increase for Belmont, the Bruins were closer and closer to taking the lead. In the 84th minute it was Tarr and senior Will Moorad (Brentwood, Tenn.) making things happen for BU. In one of the best plays of the season for BU, Tarr passed a ball to Moorad, who one-touched it in the air back to Tarr. The junior jumped over an ETSU defender to head it over the top of Coulter and gave Belmont the 2-1 lead.
Merely 49 seconds later, Olsak took it upon himself to give the Bruins some room to breathe. After receiving a ball from Moorad, the midfielder beat a pair of Buc defenders before placing the most perfect chip shot straight over Coulter's head from around 16 yards out. The 3-1 lead was all Belmont needed to pick up a win in its first A-Sun contest of the season.
The victory marks the first time Belmont has won its Atlantic Sun Conference opener since defeating Lipscomb on the road 3-0 on October 2, 2004. The Bucs, who were 6-1-1 before tonight's match, had beaten two nationally ranked opponents and tied another prior to Thursday's contest.
Tarr, who scored the tying and game-winning goals for Belmont, tallied his sixth and seventh goals of the season. The junior came into the weekend second in the conference in scoring. Tarr now has 22 career scores in three years with the Bruins, tying him with Fernando Castellanos for the most ever by a Belmont player.
Moorad and Olsak increased each of their career total to 13 assists, placing them in a tie for second place all-time in Belmont history for assists. Moorad is also third all-time in points with 47, and tied for third all-time with 17 goals in his career.
The Bucs outshot the Bruins 16-14, while recording four corner kicks to BU's one. Manning, who came into tonight leading the league with 45 saves, picked up another five stops in the victory. Coulter totaled one for the Buccaneers in the loss.
Belmont will next travel to USC Upstate for a 1:00 p.m. game on Sunday, October 2.