NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Belmont women's soccer team (2-10-1, 1-4 OVC) battled literally until the final seconds of their match on Friday night at Rose Park but could not topple league leading Murray State (8-4, 4-0 OVC). The Racers barely held on to their narrow advantage in second half, thanks to quality shooting by the Bruins. However, MSU was able to hold on for the slim 1-0 victory.
Belmont dominated time of possession for much of the first stanza but the Racers would press and use a deflection in the box to put the ball back in the 17th minute to take the 1-0 lead. The Bruins dug in their heels on the hunt for the equalizer but fell just shy by the close of the first half.
After the break, the Bruins maintained their heavy pressure on both sides of the ball, holding possession for long stretches. BU outpaced the Murray State offensively down the stretch and were seemingly inches away from connecting on what could have been game tying goals. One of Belmont's best attempts came in the 82nd minute. Sophomore Belicia Mendiola (McKinney, Texas) was fouled just outside the box and fired an attempt that went just right of the post. Encouraged, the Bruins kept striking even as the match entered the final 10 seconds. Junior Meg Howard (Brentwood, Tenn.) squared up in front of the Racer goal with five ticks remaining and just narrowly missed as time expired.
"This was an OVC game and this is what you expect - battle to the very end," said Head Coach Heather Henson. "We knew it was going to be a close game. Murray State does a great job and they are a solid team.
"We created a flurry of shots at the end that kept us in it. We had the momentum in our favor in the first half and even though we backed off a little early in the second, we were able to regain it and make adjustments. It didn't fall our way tonight but we are working."
Howard led the Bruins with a game-high four shots, followed by Mendiola, who recorded a pair.
Between the posts, junior Stephanie Bukovec (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) tallied one save thanks to a stringent defensive effort by the back line.
Belmont held the advantage in shots, 14-7, with nine coming in the second half. Murray State held the advantage in corner kicks, 7-6.
BU returns to action on Sunday when it hosts in-state rival Austin Peay. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Rose Park.
On Sunday, Bruin fans are asked to wear pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and THINK PINK. The program is also celebrating Youth Club Soccer and YMCA Youth Soccer Day, asking all youth in attendance to wear their jerseys and enjoy a meet and greet Autograph session with the Bruins after the match. At halftime, all fans can play Peg the Posts for Pizza where they can shoot a ball to win pizza coupons.