NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the first time in program history, the Belmont women's soccer team has earned a third consecutive trip to the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament.
The Bruins begin postseason play this Friday at 1 p.m. after drawing the No. 6 seed in the eight-team OVC Tournament. They will face No. 7 Southeast Missouri in a rematch of last year's tournament quarterfinals. The game will be played at Charleston, Ill., the home of No. 3 seed Eastern Illinois, who will face the winner of Friday's contest in the quarterfinals on Sunday.
Belmont (6-8-2, 4-5-1 OVC) beat SEMO (5-8-3, 3-4-3 OVC) in double overtime to close out its regular season this past Thursday, then had to wait as the rest of the conference finished up games over the weekend. The right combination of results kept the Bruins within tournament contention to extend Belmont's program-best OVC Tournament streak. The team reached the OVC's postseason bracket in back-to-back years for the first time in 2017.
Belmont has been a member of the OVC since 2012.
Last year's trip to the tourney was Belmont's first with hosting duties after earning the No. 4 seed, and the Bruins haven't forgotten the outcome. SEMO, then the No. 5 seed, upset Belmont at E.S. Rose Park after the teams played scoreless through regulation and two overtime periods. SEMO then advanced on penalty kicks.
The Bruins found some retribution last week in their first meeting with the Redhawks since that fateful day. Sophomore Julie Garst (Franklin, Tenn.) pulled Belmont into a tie near the end of regulation with her seventh goal of the season, and then freshman Emily Nguyen (Monument, Colo.) saved the season with her double-OT game-winning goal.
Had Belmont lost or drawn in that game, the Bruins would have finished in ninth in the conference standings and on the outside looking in.
2018 OVC Soccer Championship Schedule
FIRST ROUND – Friday, October 26
Match 1 - #6 Belmont vs. #7 Southeast Missouri – 1 p.m. (OVCDN)
Match 2 - #5 SIUE vs. #8 Morehead State – 1 p.m. (OVCDN)
QUARTERFINALS – Sunday, October 28
Match 3 - #6 Belmont/#7 Southeast Missouri at #3 Eastern Illinois – 1 p.m. (OVCDN)
Match 4 - #5 SIUE/#8 Morehead State at #4 Eastern Kentucky – 12 p.m. (OVCDN)
SEMIFINALS – Friday, November 2 (@Martin, Tenn.)
Match 5 - #2 Murray State vs. Match 3 winner – 4 p.m. (ESPN3)
Match 6 – Match 4 winner at #1 UT Martin – 7 p.m. (ESPN3)
CHAMPIONSHIP – Sunday, November 4 (@Martin, Tenn.)
Match 7 – Match 5 winner vs. Match 6 winner – 2 p.m. (ESPN+)
*All games Central Time