NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A great second half rally fell just short for the Belmont women's soccer team (5-7-4, 2-4-2 OVC) on Friday night for its home finale. The Bruins were held off by visiting UT Martin (11-5-1, 5-2-1 OVC), 4-2.
After a tentative start for both teams to open the 13th matchup between the programs, Belmont seemed to settle into a strong grip on the pace of the contest. UT Martin began to surge midway through the half and saw its efforts pay off to the tune of a 2-0 advantage. An unfortunate bounce off a Bruin defender tallied the first goal for the Skyhawks and Rianna Jarrett drilled the first goal of her hat trick in the 24th minute. Even with the two goal deficit, the Bruins battled hard until the teams were sent into the locker rooms.
After the break, UT Martin pushed ahead and saw Jarrett net another goal in the 55th minute. However, instead of falling back, BU dug in its collective heels and put in serious work to wage a comeback. Around the 77th minute, the Bruin intensity rose to fever pitch, resulting a high bouncing goal by senior Allie Hicks (Carmel, Ind.). Energized by the goal, Belmont struck again in the 82nd minute with a header by senior Taylor Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) with help from freshman Belicia Mendiola (McKinney, Texas) and Hicks. With time ticking down quickly, the Bruins looked to find an equalizer goal and had several great chances down the stretch. Unfortunately, the Skyhawks added one more goal, courtesy of Jarrett to put the match out of reach for BU in the waning minutes, going on to take the contest, 4-2.
"I am so very proud of the ladies and their effort tonight," said Head Coach Heather Henson. "They created scoring opportunities but unfortunately, didn't find the back of the net. We just have to push through the miscues. We made some defensive adjustments at halftime and found another way area to create an attack. It's all about taking chances in conference games.
"I am completely proud of the entire teams focus and determination. We continued to play and make things happen and that's what matters in OVC games."
Belmont held the advantage in shots, 19-10, and in corner kicks, 5-2.
Smith led the Bruins with six shots, three of which were on goal, followed by Hicks with a total of four, with three of them being on goal as well.
Belmont returns to action on Sunday with a stop at Murray State. Match time is set for 1 p.m. The contest can be seen live on the OVC Digital Network and live stats will also be available.
More to come....