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First draw

First draw


CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont women's soccer team maintained its hot streak Friday night, playing to a 1-1 draw in its Ohio Valley Conference opener on the road at Austin Peay.

It's Belmont's fourth straight positive outcome, the longest active unbeaten streak in the OVC. The Bruins have posted a 2-0-2 record in that stretch to move to 2-3-2 overall, now with a 0-0-1 mark in conference matchups.

Positivity has been at the heart of Belmont's turnaround, praised head coach Heather Henson.

"That's our team culture; that energy has to be positive," she said. "Without it, if we have one person thinking something else, we're going to falter. They've truly bought into it because they've seen us as a team will games and will players to get to balls because of that energy."

Belmont turned up the energy in the 23rd minute when the Bruins drew a foul just outside the attacking 18-yard box. Senior midfielder Jessi Boozer (Brentwood, Tenn.) took the free kick from there, scoring her first goal of the season.

"We were running a play for me to play it to Julie (Garst), but the defender in the wall rolled out with her, so I was like, 'I'm just going to rip it,'" Boozer said of taking the shot. "It worked out."

Belmont turned away Austin Peay shot after shot until the 61st minute. The Governors (5-2-1, 0-0-1 OVC) tied the game there on Claire Larose's fourth goal of the year.

APSU held the advantage in ball control for most of the game, outshooting the Bruins 22-11. The work of junior goalkeeper Lily Herman (Springboro, Ohio) – who made six saves – and the Belmont defense defused most of the scoring opportunities though.

With nine more conference games coming to determine Belmont's postseason place, the Bruins know they can improve on Friday's possession percentage. 

"We learned we need to be a little bit more composed, a little more poised on the ball," began Henson, "because when we were doing that we were creating some opportunities, some unbalanced and unorganized defenses on their side." 

Friday's draw means Belmont Head Coach Heather Henson remains tied for the program's all-time record in career wins at 52. The Bruins won't get another shot to give her No. 53 until next Friday. It's Belmont's final weekend of the regular season playing just one game.

"I think (recuperating) is important because this is the last big break we get for the rest of conference," Boozer said. "I think it's important we get our legs back ready. Rest is crucial in conference."

Belmont's next outing comes against OVC foe Morehead State back at E.S. Rose Park next Friday at 6:30 p.m.