NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University men's soccer will open its 2018 regular season by traveling down the boulevard to go head-to-head with crosstown rivals Lipscomb. Friday night under the lights promises to be an exciting matchup, marking the first time since 2016 the two sides have met in the regular season. The Belmont squad, made up largely of veterans, will look to buck the Bisons young but talented squad Friday night with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. CT at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex.
GAMEDAY is right around the corner! Tomorrow at Lipscomb... 7:00... Be there! pic.twitter.com/ehv5IDIWwV— Belmont Men's Soccer (@BelmontMSoccer) August 24, 2018
BATTLE OF THE BOULEVARD
This is not the first time that Belmont has battled Lipscomb in its home opener. "We are excited to restart the Battle of the Boulevard," said head coach Bryan Green. "We are ready for a fresh opportunity in a series that means so much to both schools." In fact, the 2015 Belmont season opener was a Battle of the Boulevard matchup in which the Bruins' took a dramatic 2-0 victory, but that is the last time Belmont has defeated Lipscomb in the regular season.
The Bruins' played three preseason games in the month of August to prepare for the 2018 campaign. Just days after the squad reported, they traveled to Central Arkansas where they played to a 0-0 draw. The squad then returned home for two matches on its home pitch where they routed Tusculum 3-0 before falling to Bradley 2-1.
ABOUT THE BRUINS
Belmont will benefit this season from the experience the squad brings to the pitch. The Bruins' return 18 men from its 2017 roster and welcome just eight newcomers. One key piece to Belmont's offense will be reigning Horizon League Freshman of the Year, Matteo Bennati (Genova, Italy), who led the team with three goals, seven points and added an assist to his already impressive stat line a season ago. Bennati will look to cause trouble for Lipscomb's back line as one of Belmont's biggest attacking threats. Last season, he led the team with 28 shots, landing 12 of those on frame.
ABOUT THE BISONS
Lipscomb is coming off one of the most successful seasons in Bisons men's soccer history, making an appearance in the NCAA for the first time ever in 2017. The Bisons promise to be a tough side yet again this season. They were tabbed the favorite in the ASUN Preseason Coaches Poll and redshirt senior forward Logan Paynter was named the ASUN Preseason Player of the Year. Paynter had an incredible 2017 campaign, scoring nine goals on 20 shots on goal and adding five assists. Junior Austin Eager also earned preseason honors, earning a spot on the Preseason All-ASUN squad.
The game will be broadcast on Facebook Live with live stats also available. Fans can also follow @BelmontMSoccer for live updates throughout the match.