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Edged in Overtime

Edged in Overtime

MOREHEAD, Ky. -- The Belmont women's soccer team (1-8-1, 0-2 OVC) battled into extra time the road Sunday afternoon to conclude the opening weekend of OVC play.  The Bruins were edged in overtime at Morehead State (4-6-1, 1-1 OVC), 1-0.  With the loss, BU slips to 0-2 in league play and 1-8-1 overall.

The Bruins began attack the MSU goal from the start of the contest with sophomore Heather Ferrari (Duluth, Ga.) tallying a shot in the first 40 seconds.  Morehead State fired back and the teams quickly fell into a heavy back and forth battle in the midfield.  Neither team let up in their hunt for the first goal of the day with bot notching an attempt in the final 90 seconds.  The matchup was basically an even battle for the first 45 minutes with Morehead State barely holding an advantage in shots, 9-6.  The teams were even in corner kick opportunities with two each.

The second stanza saw the Bruins once again attack early and often.  In the first 12 minutes, BU recorded three shots on goal.  Both teams kept fresh legs on the pitch but just couldn't find the right opportunity to break the 0-0 stalemate.  Belmont refused to relent in its hunt for a goal, even firing a shot in the final 1:15 that was barely able to be stopped by the Eagle netminder.  Statistically, the teams were once again separated by a narrow margin in shots, 5-4, in favor of BU.

As the contest tipped into the first extra period, it looked to be a repeat of regulation.  Belmont again fired the first shot and kept pressing.  However, it would be a call by the officials that would get the Bruins off kilter for just long enough for Morehead State to take advantage.  After a rocket by freshman Karen Baker (Midland, Mich.) in the 97th minute went wide, MSU made its move.  Less than a minute later, the Eagles were able to sneak the ball into the back of the Belmont net to snag the 1-0 victory.

"The ladies battled.  I am so proud of them," said Head Coach Heather Henson.  "Morehead did a great job but we were wearing them down and they were just trying to hang on by the end.  The call by the official tested us but we never stopped battling.

"We missed some opportunities that we should have put away but in terms of playing a game together as a team and pushing for the overtime, they did it.  The people coming off the bench were a great spark and brought us to a different level.  They did what we asked them to do. The team had high energy.  We are a strong team and we are not going to let a call dictate who we are and the character of us.

"We had great passes.  We created some great opportunities.  We're going to have a rest day on Monday and then get right back to business and prepare for our game on Friday.  The ladies are ready to get back out there and train.  They know its a long season but they are ready.  It just didn't fall our way today."

The Eagles netted the Golden Goal in the 98th minute to take the contest, 1-0.

MSU narrowly held the advantage in shots, 16-13, and corner kicks, 5-3.

Senior Cassie Blase (Waukesha, Wisc.) and sophomore Belicia Mendiola (McKinney, Texas) led the Bruins with three shots apiece.  Junior Meg Howard (Brentwood, Tenn.) and senior Emily Proud (Knoxville, Tenn.) finished with a pair of shots each.

Between the posts, junior Stephanie Bukovec (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) went the distance and logged three saves on the day.

Belmont returns to action on Friday, October 2 at E.S. Rose Park.  The Bruins host Eastern Illinois beginning at 4 p.m.  The contest can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network.  Live stats and an in-game Twitter feed (@BelmontWSoccer) will also be available.