NASHVILLE, Tenn.- The Belmont University men's soccer team (3-11-1, 1-5-0) hits the road as it travels to Valparaiso for a 7 p.m. CT tilt at Brown Field in Valparaiso, Ind.
The Bruins, after winning two in a row, have now fallen in consecutive contests, and look to get back into the Horizon League tournament mix with their first road victory of the season.
Last time out for Belmont, it saw its two-game home winning streak come to a halt, as visiting Wright State knocked off the Bruins, 2-0 on Wednesday evening at E.S. Rose Park. Wright State's Marquis Payton notched a pair of goals, one in each half, as the Raiders were victorious in their third-straight contest. The Bruins were unable to fight their way back from an early deficit, as the Wright State Raiders struck just minutes into regulation. BU had managed to grab some momentum, putting together a string of quality possessions, only to see Wright State capitalize with another score early in the second stanza to make it 2-0. The Raiders registered 11 shots (five on frame) compared to Belmont's eight and one on goal. Belmont's bench was quite effective on the match, as six of its eight shot attempts came from those who did not appear in the match's starting 11. AJ Arnold (Jackson, Miss.) and Matt Vuylsteke (Hamilton, Ontario, Can.) each recorded a pair of shots.
Valpo enters Saturday sporting a 2-1-2 record in conference action, which slots it for a tie for fifth in the Horizon League. The Crusaders dropped a 1-0 decision to the Michigan Wolverines in their most recent action, falling in Ann Arbor on Monday. Valpo, much like Belmont's most recent foe Wright State, is very solid on the defensive end as they have allowed just 11 goals on the season, the second fewest in the league. VU is paced offensively by Isaiah Madrid who has tallied five goals and two assists this season. Madrid has been a clutch performer for the Crusaders as he has tallied four game-winning goals on the season to lead the conference. Valpo's keeper, Nico Campbell, ranks second in the league in goals against average.
Saturday's matchup features the top two shot takers in the conference, as Valpo's Isaiah Madrid (53) and Belmont's Rashad Hyacenth (50) are the ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in terms of shots attempted. It should be an exciting match to watch as two of the most talented as well as aggressive players in the conference square off. Madrid leads the league in shots per match as well at 3.79 while Hyacenth ranks third with 3.57. Hyacenth has tallied 10 points on the year while Madrid has 12.
Belmont and Valparaiso met for the first time last season, as the Crusaders posted a 2-1 victory on the Bruins' home turf. BU hosted Valpo in what was its first-ever Horizon League match. Valparaiso netted both of its tallies in half one, while Belmont was able to slice the deficit in half, it was not able to complete the rally.
Saturday's showdown marks the first of two straight-road matches for Belmont. After Saturday's conference match, the Bruins travel to ACC foe Virginia Tech for a Tuesday night tilt in Blacksburg, Va. against the Hokies.
Follow the Bruins Men's Soccer Squad on Twitter at @belmontmsoccer for live updates