NASHVILLE, TENN. -- The Belmont University men's soccer team fell 1-0 to the Oakland Golden Grizzlies Saturday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park.
Belmont came out on the offensive early, earning a free kick just outside the box in the first minute of the game. However, the Bruins were unable to cash in on the early opportunity.
Freshman Nicolo Dini (Settala, Italy) made a statement early in the match. In the eighth minute, Dini came off his line to challenge a charging Oakland attacker. Dini was able to successfully disposses the Oakland forward and clear the ball to safety.
Oakland proved to be the agressor for the remainder of the first half. Dini made three crucial saves in the stint to send the teams into the locker room scoreless at the halftime break.
The second half opened with both teams finding offensive chances, but neither squad was either to capitalize.
The Belmont squad showed off their strong defense for much of the second half, defending a flurry of shots and offensive attacks from the Golden Grizzlies. Dini made three more spectacular saves in the second period.
Belmont began to find an offensive groove in the last fifteen minutes of the match. Freshman Nigel Leo (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) had one of Belmont's best looks of the game in the 81st minute. Leo blasted a shot from 18 yards out that looked to be on frame, but the shot curved just left of the goal.
During their offensive push, the Bruins' were awarded a couple free kicks in dangerous positions, but couldn't find the right touch to find the back of the net.
Late in the match, Oakland would launch an offensive attack that would prove to be the difference. In the 86th minute, Jacob Moore was able to take a shot close to 14 yards out that made it's way through a host of Belmont defenders to find the back of the net. The late goal would prove to be the game-winner.
Belmont found some offensive life after the Oakland goal, launching a few attacks that proved to be dangerous, but were unable to find an equalizer.
Belmont ultimately fell to Oakland 1-0.
The Bruins will return to the pitch next Saturday as they travel to take on Horizon League Foe Green Bay. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. CT.