NASHVILLE, Tenn.- After going into the half tied 2-2, the Belmont women's soccer team scored two goals in the second half to claim a 4-2 win over Evansville on Sunday at Rose Park.
Four different players scored for Belmont, with AB Hawkins collecting a career high of two assists and registering her first assist since Sept. 8, 2017.
"That's one of the things we've been continuing to work on: the advancement from our middle into our attacking third and then our final third productivity," head coach Heather Henson said. "Any win is a great feeling, but a win with four different players scoring takes us to a different level because our opponents have to watch multiple players. It's extremely exciting as we continue to advance into the attacking third."
Belmont controlled the possession early and jumped out as the early aggressors, creating three shot opportunities in the first 10 minutes. Evansville, however, struck first thanks to a goal from Emily Ormson off an assist from Sophia Rodil to take a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute.
With the Bruins grabbing the first corner kick of the day six minutes later, Belmont took advantage. Paige Hewitt set Rachel Vernon up for the score, giving the Suwanee, Ga., native her second career goal and tied the match 1-1.
After Henson called on Taylor Dorenkott to enter the game, her first game since Aug. 22 against Western Kentucky, the freshman gave the Bruins a lift in her first eight minutes of play. The Bruins had another corner kick opportunity in the 41st minute, allowing Kameron Ziesig to give Dorenkott her first shot and goal of her career to take a one-goal lead.
"From the beginning of preseason, I've continued to tell the team that we have 25 players on this team and it's going to take all 25 of us to understand our role at any given moment for us to win games and for us to win a championship," Henson said. "I think we've been able to see that over the course of the season, but especially over this weekend. When you have players who are being impactful with defensive adjustments and, in Taylor's case, in those attacking adjustments and scoring goals, it continues to reinforce that belief in all 25 that it takes to win championships."
Despite Evansville tying the score at 2-2 just before halftime, Belmont came out fired up as 211 fans roared for the Bruins to take its first win of the season in the last 45 minutes. Evansville went back-and-forth with the Bruins to try to gain the early momentum, but Belmont's 2018 leading scorer Julie Garst managed to get her 13th career goal.
In the 52nd minute, Garst came off a pass from Hawkins and snagged the go-ahead lead for Belmont with her first goal of the season.
"(The goal) felt really good because I knew it was coming. I could feel it with all those shots that were so close and inches away," Garst said. "I could feel it coming today. I knew I would get one, so it felt really good to finally get it."
While Belmont was sitting with the second half lead, the Bruins felt that another score was necessary to put the game out of reach. Eight minutes later, defender Grace Parsons helped the Bruins accomplish that mission.
Hawkins found Parsons running towards the goal, allowing the junior from Brentwood, Tenn., to come away with her first career goal in the 60th minute.
"I was like, 'You know what, we need as many as we can get.' It's good practice for conference just to keep scoring," Parsons said. "I saw the opportunity, so I took it. Honestly, I think I might have blacked out a little bit because I've never up that far before. But it was great and I'm glad it went in."
Goalkeepers Lily Herman and Sarah Doyle helped keep the Bruins' lead in-check, each registering a save. Doyle played her first career game in the goal, playing the final 12 minutes to help the Bruins shutout the Purple Aces in the second half.
Belmont starts a five-game road trip, starting with IUPUI on Friday at 6 p.m. in Indianapolis.