NASHVILLE, Tenn.- Conference action for the Belmont men's soccer team (1-6-1, 0-0-0) begins tomorrow, as the Bruins host Oakland in their Horizon League home opener Saturday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park. Kick off is slated for 2 p.m. CT against the Golden Grizzlies.
"We are excited about opening conference play with year two in the Horizon League. Going into year two we know we need to be strong defensively. The league and Oakland in particular, are good in the attack, but even more so, once a team has the lead they become even stronger to break down and get opportunities against," said Head Coach Bryan Green.
Belmont looks to friendly confines of Rose Park to help it jump back into the win column, as the Bruins have turned in strong performances in all three matches played on their home turf this season. BU played its best match all season against Lipscomb, winning 2-0 on Aug. 28 at home, and has scored four goals while allowing four at home on the year.
The Bruins, participating in its third Friday, Sunday tournament in as many weeks posted a 0-1-1 record at the 2015 Hyatt Select Lipscomb Invitational this past weekend Sept. 18-20, in their most recent action. The Bruins opened the weekend with a gritty 110 minute double-overtime draw against IUPUI in which they posted season highs in several offensive categories. Joonas Bask (Espoo, Finland) added his first goal of the season as Raphael Colmanette (Sao Paulo, Brazil) registered his second assist. Sunday, Sept. 20, Belmont dropped a 4-1 decision against Georgia Southern. Belmont tallied a late goal to cut the deficit to 2-1, but two late scores in the final three minutes by Georgia Southern resulted in a misleading score to conclude the match. Rashad Hyacenth (D'Abadie, Trinidad and Tobago) headed in his third goal of the season with some help from Matt Lopoyda (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada) who lofted into the box a great ball coming off a cornerkick.
The 2014 Horizon League Champion, and 2015 preseason favorite, Oakland, has opened this season 3-4-0. Oakland has already kicked off its Horizon League slate of games as it fell in double-overtime to the Milwaukee Panthers at home on Sept. 19. In its most recent action on the pitch, Oakland fell 4-1 to Big Ten foe Michigan in a home contest. In a battle of Michigan universities, the Wolverines netted a pair of goals in each 45, taking care of Oakland. The Golden Grizzlies return seven starters from last season's squad that posted an opening round victory in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Oakland has scored 10 goals while allowing 10 on the season.
"Oakland is a difficult team to deal with because they have some very good individuals on attack, yet are very balanced and won't rely on just one player," added Coach Green.
Belmont and Oakland met for the first time last season. The Bruins fells on the road 2-0 to Oakland, despite the shot count being even at 14 apiece. Nat Hubert (Chichester, England) peppered four shots including one on goal in the loss, and Grayson Rector (Peachtree City, Ga.) recorded three saves.
Saturday marks Belmont's second Horizon League conference campaign, as it participated in its inaugural season as an affiliate member in 2014.