NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's soccer team proved the need for strong reserves and even stronger nerves Sunday at E.S. Rose Park. Trailing LIU Brooklyn with hardly three minutes remaining in regulation, senior Allie Svoboda sent the game to overtime where teammate Megan Michela provided the game-winning goal in the 107th minute of a 2-1 victory.
Both players started the game on the bench for Belmont (1-3-0), which picked up its first win of the season in dramatic fashion. In all, 23 Bruins saw playing time on a sweltering afternoon in Nashville.
"Every single player, when they came on the field they were able to make a positive impact," praised Belmont head coach Heather Henson. "I'm unbelievably proud of this group."
Belmont controlled the ball for most of the game but found itself at a deficit late despite holding a better than three-to-one advantage in shots at the time. The Bruins finally broke through in the 87th minute when Svoboda (Lisle, Ill.) poked a shot past the goalkeeper from the top of the right side of the box to put Belmont on the board.
Svoboda, who missed all of last season due to injury, played an impactful 32 minutes while making her season debut.
"We had possessed and dominated that entire game and we knew something big was going to have to happen to change that score line," said Michela (Carol Stream, Ill.), a fellow Bruins senior. "We trusted in ourselves and with 21 shots, it was bound to happen."
The final Bruin shot, the team's 12th on goal for the day, put an end to the marathon in the game's second overtime period. Junior defender Shannon Maitland (Belleville, Ill.) served up a cross that cleared a pair of defenders. Michela was in position to fire the shot home through traffic and send the Bruins home winners.
"They didn't panic when it was tied or when LIU Brooklyn scored the goal. They stayed faithful to the process and faithful to the system and that perseverance paid off today," Coach Henson said.
Belmont would have found its first lead of the day far earlier had it not been for LIU Brooklyn's goalkeeping, which made 10 saves, including eight in regulation. Undeterred, the Bruins kept shooting to register a season-high 24 shots.
The Bruins will play two more times at E.S. Rose Park in the upcoming week, hosting UAB on Friday and Valparaiso on Sunday to close out their nonconference slate.