Men's Soccer Falls to UAB In First Day Of Lipscomb Invitational
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - - The Belmont men's soccer team (2-4-0) fell to the University of Alabama- Birmingham (4-1-0) by a score of 4-1 in the first game of the Hyatt Place/Lipscomb Invitational on Friday afternoon. Freshman Diego Figueroa scored the only goal of the match for the Bruins, who will take on UNC Asheville in final day action on Sunday.
"Here within the last three days we've played two teams getting votes in the national rankings," head coach Earle Davidson said. "They're two teams in contention for the NCAA Tournament and I honestly thought we gave both a good game. If UAB weren't so big on set pieces, I think today's game would've been really close. With our youth, our possession and our composure are getting better with every match."
The Blazers took the early lead when senior Anthony King scored on a strike from outside the box on the outside that beat Belmont keeper Juho Illi in the eighth minute of play. Senior Curtis Ushedo and junior Babayele Sodade recorded assists as they set up King for the goal.
Belmont evened things up with just over 17:00 left to play in the opening frame when junior Dan Meacock found sophomore Brandon Tarr streaking down the right side. Tarr fired a shot that forced UAB goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski to punch it away. Figueroa then came up with a fantastic bicycle kick that went untouched into the back of the net. The first score of the midfielder's career tied the game at 1-1.
"It was a sensational goal," Davidson said. "That shows the quality of our guys. That's a confident, skillful play that not many guys can make. It was a spectacular goal."
UAB countered back before the end of the break as Sodade made it 2-1 on his fifth goal of the season. Sophomore Reed Matte carried the ball down the right sideline before sending a cross into the box that Sodade finished on a half volley. The Blazers held an astounding 17-4 advantage in shots at the half, but only forced Illi to make three saves.
Belmont's best opportunity to tie the game at 2-2 came in the 60th minute when Figueroa played a ball forward to Tarr, who then found Meacock behind the defense. Meacock's left-footed attempt forced Woszcynski to lay out to his right to keep the Blazers on top by one score.
UAB increased the lead to two after converting a corner kick attempt in the 65th minute. Senior Michal Mravec played a perfect ball into the box and senior Curtis Ushedo headed into the side panel to make it 3-1 in favor of the Blazers. UAB added a final goal to finish the game when freshman Gentry Smith found fellow freshman Norris Howze, who one-timed it into the net with three minutes to play in the match.
"It's not the result we're looking for, but realistically we want to play these matches to get us ready for conference play," Davidson concluded. "I think these matches will go a long way towards us doing well in the Atlantic Sun. It's tough to drop two in a row, but with the caliber of teams we are playing, we can really be in the hunt to beat the top teams in our future."
Belmont will finish competition at the Lipscomb Invitational on
Sunday with a 2:00 p.m. contest against UNC Asheville. The four
match road trip will conclude with a contest at Duquesne on
September 25 at 6:00 p.m. The Bruins will then return home to
host Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast in the first Atlantic Sun
matches of the year. The Hatters come to Nashville on October
1 for a 3:00 p.m. match, before the Eagles come to town to
challenge BU on October 3 at 12:05 p.m.