NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Despite netting the first goal of the game, the Belmont women's soccer team (3-10, 2-5 A-Sun) was unable to hold on to the lead and fell in double overtime, 2-1, to visiting North Florida on Sunday afternoon.
UNF was able to possess the ball early but Belmont broke up numerous passes and forced action to the outside early in the first stanza. A shift in momentum saw the Bruins gain control of the ball and move action deep into Osprey territory. In the 13 minute, a free kick got BU into position. The serve opened up sophomore Lauren Paynter (Danville, Ky.) to send the ball into the box to the awaiting head of junior Jamie Loftis (Hermitage, Tenn.) who pushed the ball past the Osprey goalkeeper for her second goal of the season. The Bruins rode the confidence of their first goal in two weeks well into the later portion of half. UNF had two scoring opportunities but freshman netminder Nicole Berner (Randolph, N.J.) punched away both to keep the Bruins on top. A boot by North Florida's leading scorer Michele Larrinaga banged off the left post in the 31st minute and that would be their last attempt before the break. BU's last attempt of the half came from freshman Bailey Kimbell (Vestavia Hills, Ala.) in the 40th minute but it was blocked by a defender in the box.
UNF opened the second half strong and nearly netted the equalizer in the 55th but the ball slid just to the left of the post. However, it just enough to shift the momentum and get them back in the game. The Ospreys were able to capitalize and score a goal in the 72nd minute off a rebound play in the box to knot the score at 1-1. Both teams worked to keep fresh legs on the field in the unseasonably warm October sunshine throughout the contest but neither would be able to find the back of the net by the close of regulation.
North Florida waited just three minutes into the first overtime period before making its first attack but Berner was there to make the two-handed stop. Despite both teams making massive substitutions in the final two minutes, neither was able to find the right combination to find the golden goal.
It appeared the contest was barreling toward a 1-1 stalemate when Vladana Petricevic got her foot on the ball and sent it clanging into the crossbar. The ball took a lucky bounce and made its way into the back of the net to give the Ospreys the 2-1 victory in the 107th minute.
"Well, we finally did what we had been wanting to do which was score in the first half. We have been stressing it and coaching it," said Head Coach Lisa Howe. "UNF was the better team in the second half. On a day like today, it was hard to swing the momentum back into our favor."
UNF held the advantage in shots, 17-8, and corner kicks, 6-3.
Berner finished the day with a season-high six saves.
Belmont returns to action on Friday, October 15 on the road at Florida Gulf Coast. Match time is set for 6 p.m. CT.