Women’s Soccer Drops Season Opener on the Road at Samford
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Despite strong play throughout the contest, the Belmont women's soccer team (0-1) was unable to topple Samford (1-0). The Bruins were held off 2-0 in their 2011 road opener on Friday night.
The contest started evenly before Samford began attacking the Bruin goal, notching two corner kicks and a header attempt in the first 12 minutes. Suddenly, the Bulldogs unleashed a series of shots at Belmont's goal before finding the back of the net in the 20th minute. BU had an opportunity to score behind a shot by junior Lauren Paynter (Danville, Ky.) that banged off the post. Less than a minute later, senior Gretchen Sutch (Knoxville, Tenn.) fired a shot that went wide left. The Bruins continued attacking the goal but were unable to find the equalizer before the end of the first half, despite back-to-back shots coming from senior Alex Morgado (Suwanee, Ga.) and junior Spencer Laufer (Houston, Texas) in the final 90 seconds.
After the break, the Bulldogs wasted little time repeating their early attacks, recording three shots and corner kick before picking up their second goal of the night in the 51st minute. The teams traded shots throughout the middle of the half with neither able to string together another effective offensive attack. On goal shots by freshman Allie Hicks (Carmel, Ind.) and junior Vanessa Pepin (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) were added to Samford's second half save tally in the waning minutes. Junior Sari Lin (Carefree, Ariz.), who relieved sophomore Nicole Berner (Randolph, N.J.) between the posts late in the second stanza, grabbed a pair of crucial saves in the final two minutes of regulation to keep the score at 2-0.
Samford narrowly outperformed the Bruins in shots, 18-14 and corner kicks, 7-3.
BU netminders Berner and Lin combined for nine saves compared to Samford's four during the contest. Laufer led Belmont's offensive effort, recording three shots, followed by senior Dani Stolt (Morris Plains, N.J.) and junior Laura Harris (Macon, Ga.), who notched two apiece.
Belmont returns to action on Sunday, August 21 on the road at intrastate rival Tennessee Tech. Match time is set for 1pm. Live stats will be available here.