DETROIT, Mich.- Its attempt to play spoiler came up short, as the Belmont University men's soccer team (4-13-2, 1-7-1) fell 2-0, at Detroit Friday afternoon in its season finale.
"We never got going today and seemed to be on the back foot the entire game. Credit to Detroit for making us pay and making it difficult," remarked Head Coach Bryan Green after the loss.
Detroit' s playmaking combo of Tyler Moorman and Spiro Pliakos proved to be the difference maker as the duo accounted for all of the Titans' offense. Moorman added his sixth and seventh scores of the season as Pliakos added the helper on each tally.
Detroit scored in the 20th minute as Moorman opened the scoring. After a Detroit foul, Belmont played a free kick up the field. Detroit won the challenge and rattled off four-straight headers to advance the ball up the pitch. Spiro Pliakos wound up with the possession and diced his way through the Bruin defensive backline and then crossed it to Moorman who capitalized with a low-bouncing shot past the diving Grayson Rector (Peachtree City, Ga.). Rector's view was obstructed by activity in the box.
In the 65th Detroit would claim a 2-0 edge as Moorman, after a nice feed from Pliakos, beat Rector with a shot that found the top corner of the goal.
Belmont nearly answered back just a few possessions later when Rashad Hyacenth (D'Abadie, Trinidad and Tobago) spun swiftly, and launched a left footed shot from attacking distance, only to see his shot miss just high and wide.
Rector was tested all evening by Detroit, and finished with five saves. One of his saves came in the 60th minute when he left his line to challenge Detroit's Bowman who had separated himself from the Belmont defense and found himself in a 1-on-1 with Rector. The junior keeper made an aggressive sliding save before Bowman could really make his play on the ball. Rector again impressed, when in the 89th minute he faced a challenging shot by a Detroit offensive player, but managed to make a diving stop.
Playing to secure a spot in Horizon League postseason action, Detroit blanketed Belmont and played some strong defense. The Titans held an 18-4 advantage in terms of shots on the match.
At the half, Belmont faced a 1-0 deficit after the Titans' early score. The Bruins notched three shots, while Detroit recorded eights, with three on goal. BU's best opportunities in the first half occured in the 21st and 44th minutes, respectively. In the 21st, Hyacenth struck a ball from just outside of the 18' that initially looked like it didn't have much of a chance, but quickly bended through the air and missed just high of the frame. In the first stanza's final minute of action, freshman Dennis Kluba (St. Louis, Mo.) was hit in stride with a leading pass out in front of the Detroit defense, as Kluba made his move Detroit's keeper Steinwascher left his line and made contact with Kluba but no foul was awarded in the sequence.
The seven seniors, Pedro Balaguer (Nashville, Tenn.), Joonas Bask (Espoo, Finland), Sam Black (Douglas Isle of Man, UK), Nick Clarke (Perryville, Md.), Raphael Colmanette (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Bryan Eoff (Clarksville, Tenn.) and Anthony Torres (Batavia, Illinois), played their final match as a Belmont Bruin.
"It is a disappointing end for our seniors but they fought to the end. They have done a great job in the big picture of us continuing to move forward as a program," added Green.
This class of seven seniors has been instrumental in the elevation of the Belmont men's soccer program as they transitioned from an Independent to an affiliate member of the highly competitive Horizon League conference last season. The 2015 senior class has earned the NSCAA College Team Academic Award every season as they have compiled a team GPA of 3.00 or higher in each year. This group has worked hard both on and off the field to help the Bruins move to the next level.
Despite a two-game slide to finish the season, the Bruins certainly had some shining moments in 2015 including its season-opening 2-0 win over Lipscomb, consecutive victories over Georgia State and Milwaukee, and most recently its 2-1 road win at Virginia Tech. The Bruins took strides in year two under the tutelage of Coach Green as they improved upon their win total from 2014. The Bruins scored more goals and allowed fewer goals than they did in 2014.
The sophomore Hyacenth was a force up top for Belmont as he led the club with seven goals (tied for conference lead), 69 shots and 29 shots on goal. Kluba, the freshman, led the Bruins in minutes and started all 19 matches. Rector finished with 55 saves and two shutouts.