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First Round Preview

First Round Preview

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The sixth-seeded Belmont Bruins host the No. 7 seed VMI Keydets in the opening round of the 2019 Southern Conference Men's Soccer Championship on Tuesday. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. at E.S. Rose Park. 

MATCH NOTES

The two programs will meet for the fourth time in two seasons and the second time this year on Tuesday. The Bruins (3-11-2, 1-4-1 SoCon) have played host to the Keydets in the first round of the postseason in each of their first two years in the Southern Conference. Overall, Belmont holds a 4-1-1 all-time advantage in the series. 

In their last contest with VMI (1-15-0, 0-6-0 SoCon) on Oct. 26, the Bruins came away with a 3-1 road victory behind goals from three different players. Sophomore forwards Ares Marlonsson and Niccolo Dagnoni, as well as junior midfielder Jack Shaw each found the back of the net in the win.

LAST TIME OUT: Belmont dropped its regular season finale 2-1 against the Furman Paladins on Saturday. The Paladins came out on top despite a 35th-minute penalty kick goal from junior midfielder Nigel Leo. Junior forward Jordan Dozzi led Belmont with two shots on the evening. 

SCOUTING VMI: The Keydets are led by first-year head coach Charlie Hubbard, who posted a 1-15-0 record in the regular season with VMI. Hubbard spent the last three seasons on the Keydet staff as a recruiting coordinator. VMI's lone win this year came 4-0 against Regent University, as they currently hold a seven-match losing skid going into Tuesday. 

Sophomore midfielder Brandon Hornung and freshman forward Anderson Velazquez spearhead the Keydet offense with six points each on the 2019 season. Freshman defender Josh Lam holds a team-high two assist for VMI. The Keydets have given up a conference-high 47 goals and registered a conference-low 11 goals this year. 

FANCY SEEING YOU HERE: The Bruins will meet VMI in the opening round of the SoCon Men's Soccer Championship for the second-consecutive season. Belmont tallied a 2-1 postseason win at E.S. Rose Park in 2018, as Marlonsson, Leo and Dagnoni each nabbed points on the day.

SPREAD IT AROUND: 10 different players have scored the Bruins 19 goals this season. Belmont only has four repeat scorers this year: Dagnoni (7), Dozzi (2), Shaw (2) and Marlonsson (2).

FOLLOW THE BRUINS: Tuesday's tilt can be streamed via ESPN+ or tracked through live stats.

UP NEXT: The winner of the opening round match will advance to the quarterfinals for a tilt with the third-seeded ETSU Buccaneers in Greensboro, N.C. The match time is slated for Friday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. ET.