NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 6 seed Belmont Bruins cruised past the seventh-seeded VMI Keydets 4-0 in the opening round of the Southern Conference Championship at E.S. Rose Park Tuesday night.
With the victory, the Bruins advance to the quarterfinals of the postseason tournament for the second-consecutive season.
Sophomore goalkeeper Cameron Petty corralled four saves, tying his career-best that he set earlier this year. Sophomore forward Niccolo Dagnoni added a career-best two assists for the second time this year.
Overall, the Bruins fired a season-high 23 shots and 13 shots on goal in the postseason win over the Keydets.
Belmont opened up the first half with a full head of steam, as Dozzi registered three shots on goal within the first 16 minutes. He would finally connect on his fourth shot on goal in the 24th minute from the top of the box.
Dozzi beat the VMI keeper by placing a ball in the top-right corner of the net to give the Bruins a 1-0 early advantage. Junior defender Marius Svendsen and senior midfielder/defender Sam Borgel were credited assists. Svendsen's assist came as the first of his career at Belmont.
The Bruins would add six more shots to round out the first 45 minutes, but nothing found the back of the net. At the half, Belmont held an 11-3 shot margin over the Keydets. Dozzi accounted for seven shot attempts and six shots on goal through one half.
It took the Bruins just six minutes into the second half to double their lead, as Barks logged his first goal of the night after being set up by Dagnoni in the 51st minute.
Barks struck just eight minutes later on a corner kick from Dagnoni in the 59th minute to extend the Belmont lead to 3-0.
Following 25 minutes of scoreless action, Virgilio capped off the Bruins' win with his second goal of the season. Sophomore forward Liam O'Brien and freshman midfielder Corey Lavinder each nabbed their first-career assists on Virgilio's 84th-minute strike.
Belmont held its 4-0 lead for the remainder of regulation time to record its third shutout of the 2019 season. In total, the Bruins had 11 different players with a shot, as Dozzi fired a career-high eight shots and six shots on goal in the match.
FOURTH TIME'S THE CHARM: Including Tuesday's win over VMI, Belmont has tallied four goals in two matches this year. The Bruins have not had a pair of four-goal victories in a season since 2009.
DEJA VU: Belmont has logged wins over the Keydets in the opening round of the SoCon Championship in each of its first two years in the conference.
UP NEXT: The Bruins take on the third-seeded ETSU Buccaneers in Greensboro, N.C. in the quarterfinals of the SoCon Championship. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. Friday at UNCG Soccer Stadium.
David Costa, Head Coach
"Tonight was a complete performance from the team. It is always great to score four goals, but I was very pleased with our ability to keep the shutout. We continue to grow every game in our commitment on both sides of the ball. We look forward to our rematch with ETSU on Friday."