NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's soccer team's season came to an unlucky close last week in the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament following a 0-0 draw with Southeast Missouri and the Redhawks' advancement on penalty kicks. The game brought an end to a captivating Bruins' season that featured an emerging star and perhaps the deepest supporting cast in program history.
Belmont's final stat line featured 12 goal scorers and 16 players overall who tallied at least one point. While sophomore forward Julie Garst (Franklin, Tenn.) provided the bulk of those with her seven goals, the Bruins' successes came through teamwork and perseverance.
"That's an example of being a family on the field. They're not looking for just one or two players to score for the team," Belmont Head Coach Heather Henson said. "They trusted and believed that any single player on our team has the ability to score a goal. That trust and that faith in each other is huge in creating those goal-scoring opportunities."
Behind the bevy of scorers, Belmont fought its way into the OVC Tournament for a third consecutive season, a first in the program's brief history in the league that dates back to 2012. The season, which concluded with a record of 6-8-3, was made up of highs and lows with many memorable triumphs along the way.
Let's revisit the top moments of Belmont's bygone 2018, listed below chronologically:
BUILDING THE TEAM BOND
Before the 2018 season even began, the Bruins started working on their chemistry during a team retreat at Deer Run Lodge, a rustic setting just south of Nashville. Belmont players gathered for three days of games, challenges and camaraderie building during the first week of August.
BOSSUNG'S LONG-AWAITED GOAL
Senior defender Sarah Bossung (Nashville, Tenn.) scored her first career goal on Aug. 19 at Middle Tennessee. Bossung, who set a career high with five shots this season, scored on a penalty kick against MTSU for her first goal in her 57th career appearance with the Bruins. She also ended her career having started 54 consecutive games.
This week's senior spotlight is defender Sarah @theBossung19. She's been playing soccer since she was 3 and most cherishes the bonds she's made with her teammates. #itsbruintime #whyIplay pic.twitter.com/eVpzrpwHpf— Belmont Womens Soccer (@BelmontWSoccer) August 29, 2018
SVOBODA'S DRAMATIC RETURN
After missing the entirety of the 2017 campaign, senior Allie Svoboda (Lisle, Ill.) made her dramatic season debut against LIU Brooklyn on Sept. 2. In her first game back from injury, Svoboda scored the game-tying goal in the 87th minute to send the game to overtime.
After injuries derailed her junior season, @Allie_Svoboda never gave up. Her perseverance paid off when she scored in her first game back on the field as a senior Sunday.#itsbruintime #svobodastrong���� pic.twitter.com/UYKSjx9VTK— Belmont Womens Soccer (@BelmontWSoccer) September 5, 2018
MICHELA COMES UP CLUTCH
In that same LIU Brooklyn matchup, senior Megan Michela (Carol Stream, Ill.) helped Belmont to its first win of the season by netting the game-winning goal in double overtime. Michela's score came in the 107th minute of a 2-1 victory.
COACH HENSON SETS WINS RECORD
Belmont Head Coach Heather Henson set the record for career wins with the Bruins women's soccer program with her 53rd victory, a 1-0 shutout of Morehead State on Sept. 21. The eighth-year coach added three more wins down the stretch and now has a career record of 56-67-19 at Belmont.
ZIESIG SCORES FROM THE CORNER
At Eastern Illinois on Sept. 28, junior Kameron Ziesig (Brentwood, Tenn.) got Belmont on the board in unusual fashion. On a corner kick from the left side, Ziesig bent the serve into the box, over the keeper's outstretched hands and just inside the far post for a goal on the fly. It was her first career goal as well.
HUNT PROVIDES RELIEF
Making an emergency start in net, sophomore Abby Hunt (Surrey, B.C., Canada) made four saves against EIU to help Belmont to a 3-1 win in her first start of the season. Hunt's big play between the pipes extended the Bruins' best stretch of the season, a six-game unbeaten streak in which the team went 4-0-2.
BAKER COMES BACK FOR SENIOR DAY
After a preseason injury was expected to keep her from the field for the entire season, senior Karen Baker (Midland, Mich.) was cleared to return to action just in time for senior day. Baker started alongside her five fellow senior classmates against Eastern Kentucky on Oct. 7 in the final game of her Belmont career.
While we're waiting for the lightning to clear, let's recognize the seniors we honored today. A special thanks to @karen_baker5 @jessi_boozer & Sarah @theBOSSUNG19!https://t.co/jwXXW46DXL#itsbruintime pic.twitter.com/K3C1Fe56Ae— Belmont Womens Soccer (@BelmontWSoccer) October 7, 2018
HERMAN SETS CAREER HIGH
Junior goalkeeper Lily Herman (Springboro, Ohio) posted a career-high nine saves against UT Martin on Oct. 12. Herman piled up 70 saves on the season, the seventh most in the OVC, while starting 16 of 17 games as the Bruins' rock in the net.
NGUYEN WINS IT IN 2OT
Freshman Emily Nguyen (Monument, Colo.) picked the perfect time for her first career goal, scoring the game winner in double overtime against SEMO on Oct. 18. The 2-1 win propelled Belmont into the OVC Tournament for a third straight season.
GARST GARNERS ALL-OVC NOD
A surprise to no one, sophomore scoring sensation Julie Garst (Franklin, Tenn.) was voted to the All-Ohio Valley Conference First Team just this past week after leading Belmont in every offensive category. She finished her standout season with seven goals, two assists, 16 points, three game-winning goals and 68 shots.