NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The Belmont University men's soccer team returns to action this weekend when it travels to Evansville, Ind. for a pair of matches as part of the ProRehab Aces Soccer Classic. Friday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. CT, the Bruins square off with the Drake Bulldogs, and after a off day, return to the pitch to battle host Evansville at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6. All matches will be played at Arad McCutchan Stadium in Evansville.
"We are very excited about this weekend," said Head Coach Bryan Green. "We have an opportunity to compete against two quality opponents and build on what we did well last weekend as well as the lessons we learned."
The Bruins opened their season with a 1-1 weekend, which began with a thrilling 2-0 triumph over crosstown foe Lipscomb in front of a Rose Park record 1,123 fans in the Battle of the Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 28. Sophomore striker Rashad Hyacenth (D'Abadie, Trinidad and Tobago) scored a pair of goals, one in each half, to set the tone for Belmont. Coach Green and his squad did not have much time to enjoy the victory as they quickly traveled to Buffalo for a Sunday afternoon contest in the Empire State. The final score read 3-1 in favor of Buffalo, but the match was evenly played, as Belmont had more shots on goal than its opponent. Freshmen Sean Bernabo (Eden Prairie, Minn.) scored his first collegiate goal in the hard fought loss. Bernabo along with five other freshmen logged minutes, gaining valuable road experience heading into this weekend.
After the first weekend of play, Hyacenth is tied for the Horizon League lead with two goals and is atop the league in shots with 12 and shots per game with six per match. The D'Abadie, Trinidad and Tobago native is certainly a key cog in Belmont's scoring third of the pitch.
Drake opened its season in a similar fashion, notching a win in its opener but falling on the road in the match two. In its opener, Pacific may have recorded the first score, but Drake was the victor, outplaying its counterpart and peppering 23 shots on the evening. At Green Bay on Sunday, the Bulldogs surrendered a quick score and could not overcome the deficit as they fell 1-0 to close the weekend. Alex Prusa and Alec Bartlett each have registered a goal for the Bulldogs. Drake returns 10 starters from last season's club, including a pair of Preseason All-Conference talents in Mueng Sunday and James Wypych, both juniors.
The Evansville Purple Aces have played just one match, falling on the road to Milwaukee 5-2. Milwaukee was the aggressor pouring on 27 shots and attempting 12 cornerkicks. Goalkeeper Matthew Keller recorded 12 saves in the loss and Mark Gonzalez and Mike Matic found the back of the net for the Aces. Evansville returns three starters while welcoming 10 new players to campus in 2015. The Purple Aces are paced by Gonzalez who is a two-time all Missouri Conference honoree, and picked up 2015 Preseason All-Conference honors.
Belmont and Drake have met just once over the years, as Belmont fell to Drake in the Bruins' lone season as an affiliate member of the Missouri Valley Conference in 2000. Belmont sits at 2-5 alltime against Evansville, with last meeting occurring in 2014 when Belmont dropped a 5-0 decision at Evansville.
Live stats will be available at GoPurpleAces.com and a live stream for Sunday's match will be featured on the same site.