Exhibition stalemate

Exhibition stalemate

 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – The Belmont women's soccer team drew first blood before ending in a 1-1 draw with the Chattanooga Mocs on stormy Thursday in a preseason exhibition match at Finley Stadium.

Senior Jessi Boozer (Brentwood, Tenn.) put the Bruins on the board for the first time this season with a shot that took the Chattanooga keeper by surprise 11 minutes into the match. From 40 yards out and with a defender hugging her side, Boozer unleashed a big left boot that sent the ball arcing through a light rain and toward the net.

Mocs goalkeeper Ashton Shields, playing out because of the action out near midfield, was helpless to get a hand up and knock down the perfectly placed shot.

"When it came off my foot, I thought maybe it had a chance because of the way it came off, just really nice," Boozer began. "Once it got up over her head I knew it was going in."

On the other end Belmont's Lily Herman (Springboro, Ohio), who started in net throughout conference play in 2017, made a pair of saves to shut out the home team. Another Mocs' shot rang off the left goal post and back in play, though Chattanooga's followup attempt was well off target from there.

Herman, a junior, yielded to sophomore Abby Hunt (Surrey, British Columbia, Canada) for the second half as Belmont head coach Heather Henson assessed her depth in the first exhibition match of the preseason. Hunt made a pair of saves as well before the Mocs' Bailey Gale tied the game at 1-1 in 72nd minute.

"Both goalkeepers came up with some important saves for us," Henson said. "There were fabulous saves that were at critical times in the game, and they both played high off their line and were real aggressive. That's what we ask them to do. I was equally proud of both of them today."

Henson echoed the sentiment describing her from 10, whom she mixed and matched looking for the best combinations for the season.

"It was a great opportunity today to be able to see different groupings of players," Henson continued. "Some looked really good, some there was a disconnect here or there, but it's the first game of the season. We saw some really great options and pairings in getting players on the field and giving them opportunities."

The match was moved up three hours because of inclement weather in the Chattanooga area, but lightning still delayed the start time by more than an hour.

"Overall in terms of how long the delay was and having two of them, it was a good start. We have to be able to overcome those obstacles that we can't control and find a way to refocus," Henson said.

The Bruins round out their preseason exhibition schedule Sunday with a trip to Western Kentucky. The match is slated for 6 p.m. at the WKU Soccer Complex in Bowling Green, Ky. Live stats for the contest are available at http://www.sidearmstats.com/wku/wsoc

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