NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont University men's soccer team dropped a 2-0 decision to UIC in their final match of the season.
Belmont came into the match attempting to break a 9 game Flames winning streak.
Out of the gate, UIC dominated play having many offensive chances forcing the Belmont back line to work hard to keep them off the board.
Around the 20' mark, the Bruins found their footing and found their offensive rhythm. Freshman Matteo Bennati (Genova, Italy) had many dangerous chances around the UIC goal, but the Flames defense stepped up play to keep him from recording a shot on frame.
In the 25' freshman Nigel Leo (Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.) ripped a shot from 25 yards out that forced the UIC keeper to make his first save of the night.
Both squads showed strong defensive play throughout the first half with UIC keeper Sawyer Jackman making two saves and BU keeper Nicolo Dini (Settala, Italy) recording three in the first frame.
UIC would strike first in the 41st minute when Jesus Perez netted his fourth goal of the season.
Belmont would head to the locker room at a 1-0 deficit.
BU opened the second half with continued offensive play. Sophomore Creaghan Diekema (Grand Rapids, Mich.) gave the Bruins many scoring opportunities in the second half including a shot that barely missed wide.
Junior Tony Doellefeld (St. Louis, Mo.) and freshman Nick Kramer (Lancaster, Pa.) gave Belmont a spark off the bench throughout the game, really opening things up on the offensive end in the midfield.
In the 76th minute, UIC would strike again after the Flames launched an attack and ripped a shot that Dini saved, but Oscar Gonzales was there to take the ball off the rebound and find the back of the net.
Belmont did not take their foot off the gas and kept threatening on the offensive end. In the final minute of the game, senior Adriano Balani (Durres, Albania) took a free kick from 30 yards out and found fellow senior Dan Brown (Franklin, Tenn.). Brown, who was near the left post, passed the ball to Doellefeld, who took Belmont's best shot of the night, but the UIC keeper made a spectacular save to keep the Bruins off the board.
The match was the final Horizon League match that Belmont will play as they will move to the Southern Conference for the 2018 season.