Women's Soccer Dominates Tennessee Wesleyan in First Exhibition
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Belmont women's soccer team unofficially opened the Heather Henson era with a convincing exhibtion victory on Friday afternoon. The Bruins easily defeated Tennessee Wesleyan, 5-0, in BU's soft home opener at its new home, E.S. Rose Park.
From the opening whistle, Belmont dominated ball possession and kept TWC on its heels. Within the first eight minutes, the Bruins had railed off three shots on goal, putting Bulldog goalkeeper Kristen Davis to work early. Finally, senior Jamie Loftis (Hermitage, Tenn.) was able to feed classmate Morgan McBride (Collierville, Tenn.),who sent the ball sailing over Davis' head, for BU's first goal of the day in the 19th minute. The confidence boost from the early goal allowed the Bruins to intensify their defensive effort and keep the Bulldogs from finding any scoring opportunities.
Belmont went on to notch two more goals before the end of the half. First, junior Vanessa Pepin (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) earned an assist on classmate Lauren Paynter's (Danville, Ky.) goal in the 31st minute. Five minutes later, Pepin's corner kick set up freshman Rachel Schmidt (Dallas, Texas) to pick up her first goal. BU was easily able to use its momentum to carry it through the remainder of the first stanza, taking a 3-0 lead into the locker room.
After the break, the Bruin defense continued to stiffle Tennessee Wesleyan's attempts by breaking up passes and keeping the ball firmly in their half of the field. Belmont earned a trio of corner kicks which led to a Paynter assist on a goal by senior Dani Stolt (Morris Plains, N.J.) in the 62nd minute to go up, 4-0. Fired up by the goal, BU netted its fifth of the contest four minutes later with freshman Allie Hicks (Carmel, Ind.) finding the back of the net, after pulling the TWC goalkeeper out of net.
TWC was unable to find any answers in the waning minutes and Belmont easily held on for the 5-0 win.
BU held the advantage in corner kicks, 9-0, and shots, 18-3. Davis finished with six saves while seniors Ashley Hudak (Reynoldsville, Ohio) and Sari Lin (Carefree, Ariz.) and sophomore Nicole Berner (Randolph, N.J.) did not record any during their split time between the posts.
Paynter, Hicks, and Schmidt each notched three shots during the contest. Paynter and Pepin also finished with a pair of assists each.
"We talked about coming out with effort and energy from the start of the game," said Henson. "That's what it takes to create attacking oppportunities and tighten defense."
"Our bench did a good job of keeping up the effort and energy. It's always good for freshmen to get that first game under their belts and feel comfortable. Both the freshmen and our returners came out with that energy and effort, setting a tone for this season."
Belmont competes in its final exhibition game on Sunday at E.S. Rose Park. Match time is set for 6 p.m. A live Twitter feed will be available at www.twitter.com/BelmontWSoccer.