NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Belmont University Men's Soccer opens conference play on the road at UNC Greensboro Saturday night. Belmont's inaugural Southern Conference match is slated to kickoff at 6:00 p.m. CST at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
The two teams have met just one time in program history. The match, dating back to 2006, was played at UNCG. In that match, there were a combined seven goals scored, but the Spartans defeated the Bruins 5-2.
Saturday night's match is historic for the Bruins. As a first-year affiliate member of the Southern Conference, the match will mark the first ever SoCon match that Belmont Men's Soccer will play in.
GET TO KNOW THE SPARTANS
Head Coach Justin Maullin is in his eighth season at the helm of the UNCG men's soccer program. After a successful 2017 season, the Spartans are currently 4-6 this season. UNCG's historically impressive offense has scored 12 goals in just 10 games already this season, the second most in the conference, and has blasted 107 shots. The side is averaging 10.7 shots per game and have put 50 on frame. Last season, the Spartans tallied a league-high 39 goals helping to propel them to the SoCon semifinals. Even though the Spartans have gotten off to a slower start this season, the team has played good competition, including No. 1 Wake Forest earlier this week.
There is a good chance that fans could see some extra soccer on Saturday. The two teams have played a combined six matches that have been decided in overtime. Three of UNCG's victories, including its last two home victories, this season have been decided in overtime. In fact, both of the squads' first victories were decided in overtime against the same opponent, Presbyterian.
HERO OF THE WEEK
Sophomore Keeper Nicolo Dini (Settala, Italy) was named HERO Sports Men's Soccer Player of the Week on September 25. The honor came after his nine save shutout of Presbyterian to help the Bruins secure its first victory of the season. This season, Dini has made 38 saves in his eight appearances and has shutout one opponent.
SAVING THE DAY
The Bruins have proven to be tough to score on late in games. Of Belmont's 42 saves, 30 of them have come in the second half. As a squad, Belmont is second only to VMI in the SoCon in total saves, averaging an impressive 4.67 per game.
Freshman Ares Marlonsson (Denver, Colo.) has proven to be one of the most important pieces the the Belmont offense this season. As Belmont's leading points getter, he has scored one goal and dished out four assists. In fact, Marlonsson has scored or assisted on five of BU's eight goals this season. He is second in the SoCon in assists.
Live stats and a digital stream of the match on ESPN+ will be available. As always, fans can follow @BelmontMSoccer on Twitter for live updates.