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Downpour and a draw

Downpour and a draw

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A raging storm complete with driving rain and lighting flashes couldn't dampen the Belmont women's soccer team. Unfortunately, time ran out before the Bruins' pressure play could yield results on the scoreboard.

Belmont played to a 1-1 draw with visiting UAB on Friday, a game that featured an hour-long lightning delay. The contest was called after the first 10-minute overtime period do to the late hour and time constraints at E.S. Rose Park.

Which was unfortunate for the Bruins (1-3-1) given the way the home side performed all night, but especially in the final 40 minutes following the delay.

"We did a better job of putting a complete game together tonight," began Belmont head coach Heather Henson. "I think this is our first near complete game where we found that rhythm of play. We just have to convert on a couple more opportunities when we get them."

Belmont's scoring chances were plentiful behind a season-high 25 shots, but it was UAB (2-3-1) that found the net first. The Blazers' Kamilah Mustafa scored in the 11th minute, though the Bruins were quick to respond.

After an in-bounds throw from sophomore defender Grace Parsons (Brentwood, Tenn.), sophomore forward Julie Garst (Franklin, Tenn.) carried the ball into the attacking third in the 17th minute. With the defense keying on the Bruins' leading scorer, Garst dropped the ball off to her left to a wide-open Niki Clements (Perkasie, Pa.). Clements's shot to the near post gave the junior her first goal of the season and knotted the score at 1-all.

"Julie was dribbling right at their defense and they all got drawn in to her," Clements said. "I knew I was out there open because they all pinched in toward her, and I just hoped she would see me. She dished it off to me and I had an open shot with the goalie."

The stalemate remained through halftime. Then the dark clouds on the horizon gave way in a sudden downpour – enough to flood the track surrounding the field at E.S. Rose Park. The teams played through a few minutes of heavy rain before lightning chased the players to the locker room in the 61st minute.

The Bruins looked sharp as ever even after the hour-and-23-minute delay, dominating possession and holding UAB shotless over the last stretch.

"We just continued to engage with each other in the training room," Clements described the team's lightning-delay tactics. "Play music and make sure we stayed involved, staying hype for the game."

Junior goalkeeper Lily Herman (Springboro, Ohio) had her strongest outing yet with 100 minutes of one-goal time in net. She made three saves, all in the first half. UAB attempted only one shot in the final 57 minutes of the game.

It's the Bruins second straight overtime game and second straight positive outcome. Belmont topped LIU Brooklyn, 2-1, in double overtime its last time out.

The Bruins round out nonconference play by hosting Valparaiso (2-3-1) on Sunday at 2 p.m.