ATLANTA, Ga. – The Belmont Bruins fell to the Georgia State Panthers by a score of 3-1 at the GSU Soccer Complex Monday night. The loss marks the first for the Bruins in Atlanta since 2013.
Sophomore forward Pablo Martin Virgilio tallied his first-career goal on an assist from senior midfielder Sam Borgel in the 42nd minute. The goal came as the first of the regular season for Belmont (0-1-1), as Niccolo Dagnoni led the Bruins with three shots on target.
The Panthers (2-0-0) registered a pair of second-half goals from junior forward Aris Briggs (70th minute) and sophomore forward Matthew Fearnley (81st minute) to notch the victory.
In total, Belmont finished the match with six shots on goal and four corner kicks, topping Georgia State in both statistical categories. Fearnley and Briggs combined for 10 of the Panthers 15 shots on the night.
The Bruins got off to a hot start in the first 45 minutes, as they logged a corner kick and a shot within the first seven minutes of the match. Junior goalkeeper Nicolo Dini notched a save on his first shot faced of the evening in the 11th minute, but Briggs struck first for Georgia State with a 31st-minute goal. The Panthers would go on to launch seven shots in the first half, with just two on target.
Virgilio answered the call for the Bruins with a 42nd-minute goal to knot the match back up at 1-1 going into the break.
After the first 45 minutes, the Bruins led the Panthers in shots (8), shots on goal (3), and corner kicks (3). Meanwhile, Georgia State doubled Belmont's foul total in the first half with eight cautions.
Just eight seconds into the second half, junior midfielder Esteban Lestido fired the Bruins fourth shot on goal of the night. Belmont kept the pressure on the Panthers, as Niccolo Dagnoni nearly netted the go-ahead goal for the Bruins with a shot on goal in the 59th and 67th minute.
However, Briggs struck again for Georgia State in the 70th minute to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead going into the final 20 minutes of regulation. Fearnley's 81st-minute goal gave Georgia State a two-goal cushion to finish out the match.
UP NEXT: The Bruins will embark to San Diego, Calif. for the Courtyard Marriott Aztec Soccer Classic, which highlights matchups with San Diego State on Friday at 9 p.m. and San Diego on Sunday at 2 p.m.
Belmont will wrap up its five-game road stint at Purdue-Fort Wayne, before returning to Nashville for its home opener against the Memphis Tigers on Sept. 17.
David Costa, Head Coach
"Georgia State is a very good team with a lot of talent. We played an excellent first half and created several quality chances. Our pressure in the second half was very loose and they made us pay. This was a great learning lesson for our team and showed us a what an NCAA Tournament level team looks like."