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Overtime Rally Falls Short

Overtime Rally Falls Short

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A strong second half rally forced the first double overtime decision of the season for Belmont women's soccer team (1-3) on Friday night at Rose Park.  The Bruins were held off in the second overtime by Valparaiso (2-2), 2-1.

It was a tale of two halves for the Bruins with the opponents each claiming one in regulation. 

Valpo opened the first stanza on an offensive tear, notching four corner kicks in the first four minutes.  The Crusaders remained entrenched in Belmont territory for long stretches but the Bruin defense worked hard to break up numerous crosses and passes.  One of BU's best scoring chances came at the sharp right foot of sophomore Meg Howard (Brentwood, Tenn.) in the 27th minute of play.  Unfortunately, her attempt sailed over the crossbar.  

The back and forth battle continued for the teams for the remainder of the half.  VU was able to capitalize on its fifth corner of the half to catapult its way onto the scoreboard behind a series of short passes to the foot of Rita Craven who found the back of the net at the 36:16 mark.  BU battled back to turn the tide in the waning minutes and kept the Crusaders from adding to their tally before the end of the stanza.

The second half proved to be a different story with the Bruins firmly in control from the opening whistle and looking sharp on both sides of the ball.  Finally, Belmont made its move.  Sophomore Meg Howard (Brentwood, Tenn.) fed rookie Allie Svoboda (Lisle, Ill.) in the 60th minute for the equalizer goal, sending the Friday Night Futbol fans into a frenzy in the stands.

However, the teams remained stalemated throughout the rest of regulation and proved to be nearly evenly matched as they entered into the first extra period.  Neither team was able to capitalize on strong scoring opportunities and the match was forced to a second and deciding overtime period.

The second overtime period barely began to tick away as it was ended.  At the 11:48 mark, Valparaiso was able to sneak one into the BU goal to take the contest with a golden goal and hand Belmont its third consecutive loss.

Valparaiso led in shots, 27-13, and corner kicks, 14-4.

Svoboda and Howard led the Bruins with three shots apiece, followed by senior Cassie Blase (Waukesha, Wisc.), and sophomores Belicia Mendiola (McKinney, Texas) and Tara Austin (Beaumont, Texas) recorded two each.  

Junior Stephanie Bukovec (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) had a tremendous outing, recording 13 saves, her largest tally so far as a Bruin.

Belmont returns to action on Friday, September 11 with a road matchup at Evansville.  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.  Live stats will be available.