MURRAY, Ky. – An early deficit proved too steep to overcome as the Belmont women's soccer team dropped a 4-1 decision on the road to Murray State on Sunday afternoon.
The Bruins are now 5-8-2 with a 3-5-1 mark in Ohio Valley Conference games with one conference contest left on the schedule. Belmont closes its regular season against Southeast Missouri next Thursday at home.
Against the Racers, Belmont fell behind due to a flurry of scoring just before halftime. The Racers netted goals in the 31st, 37th and 43rd minutes to pull into intermission with a 3-0 lead.
"The score doesn't indicate how our team played today," Belmont Head Coach Heather Henson said. "The ladies came out in the first half with the highest level of energy I have seen this season, communicating with each other and playing linked together."
Still, the hole grew to 4-0 when Murray State scored on a penalty kick soon after the half. The shot was awarded due to an unintentional handball called on Belmont when a player slid to block a shot attempt in the 18-yard box.
But Belmont found life when the Racers' Miyah Watford, the team's leading scorer and the top goal producer in the OVC, was issued her second yellow card of the game in the 66th minute. The ensuing red card knocked her from the game and gave the Bruins an 11-on-10 advantage for the final 24 minutes of play.
The game saw seven total yellow cards.
Belmont broke through in 79th minute when forward Julie Garst (Franklin, Tenn.) scored her sixth goal of the season. Sophomore forward Paige Hewitt (Knoxville, Tenn.) played the ball to freshman forward Emily Nguyen (Monument, Colo.), whose final pass to Garst was Nguyen's first career assist.
With goal No. 6 on the season, Garst has set a new career best and extended her team lead in the category.
The Bruins out-shot Murray State in the second half, 10-8, and produced more scoring opportunities as well.
"They continued to bring the same level of commitment and energy in the second half and showed the entire game their commitment to each other. I am very proud of them," Henson said.
With Belmont's final game against SEMO next week, the Bruins will look to lock down a spot in the OVC Tournament with a win. Belmont is currently eighth in the OVC standings, just making the cutoff as of now in the eight-team tournament bracket.