BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The Belmont women's soccer team (2-1-1) was unable to bounce back from a deficit in the first half and was held off on the road on Friday night. The Bruins fell to Samford (3-2), 2-0, for their first loss of the 2014 campaign.
The Bruins attacked from the opening whistle, forcing the ball into the Samford portion of the field for the first few minutes of action. The Bulldogs answered back with a pair of great crosses but the Belmont back line intervened and broke up the passes. Samford continued to ramp up its efforts but was unable to coordinate its timing, recording four consecutive offsides calls. The teams settled into a mighty back and forth battle in the midfield for much of the half.
Freshman Tara Austin (Beaumont, Texas) fired a shot that looked destined to score, soaring over the fingertips of the SU goalkeeper, but her attempt banged into the corner of the crossbar in the 30th minute. Four minutes later, the Bulldogs would notch the first goal of the night on a bouncy, redirected ball.
BU opened the second stanza aggressively but it would be Samford who would strike first again, scoring just barely two minutes into the half. Ten minutes later, the Bruins heated up offensively with just barely missing the mark shots coming from sophomore Meg Howard (Brentwood, Tenn.), junior Cassie Blase (Waukesha, Wisc.) and senior Taylor Smith (Atlanta, Ga.).
Belmont upped its defensive effort and intensified its attack in hopes of getting on the board as the half wore on. A fiery attempt by junior Emily Proud (Knoxville, Tenn.) face up at the SU keeper was barely stopped in the 76th minute. Classmate Sydney Scheben (Union, Ky.) followed five minutes later with a shot that barely went left of the post. Despite drastically improving their shot output, the Bruins were unable to find the back of the net as Samford went on to take the contest, 2-0.
Howard led BU with two shots. Eight different Bruins also recorded a shot during the contest.
Senior newcomer Megan Byrd (Gurnee, Ill.) notched her first start of the season and finished with four saves.
Belmont returns to action on Sunday at E.S. Rose Park when it hosts Georgia State. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. The contest can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network and live stats will be available. A live, in-game Twitter feed (@BelmontWSoccer) will also be available.