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Bruin Blitz 9/8-9/14

Men’s Soccer (1-5)

2014 Belmont Invitational

Sept. 12 v. James Madison

Although a late goal almost spurred a comeback, the Belmont men’s soccer team ultimately fell in a 2-1 contest to James Madison in its home opener Friday night.

The night got off to an unfortunate start for the Bruins in the fourth minute when a misdirected touch from the defense resulted in an own goal and early 1-0 lead for the Dukes.

The Dukes found their stride on a counterattack with a four-pass sequence that ended with the goal from Josh Grant in the 23rd minute to double the lead.

The Bruins finished out the first half with a couple of key crosses but couldn’t capitalize inside the box.

In the 85th minute, Adriano Balani scored his first collegiate goal unassisted off a rebound from the Bruins attack.

Moments later, Dan Brown nearly tied the game on a far-post cross from Nat Hubert. However, James Madison shut down the chance of a comeback and claimed the 2-1 victory.

Freshman Rashad Hyacenth led the Bruins with five shots on the night where the Bruins outshot the Dukes 10-4.

-Courtney Martinez

Sept. 14 v. Gardner-Webb

Bryan Green celebrated his first win as head coach for the Belmont men’s soccer team with a 2-0 shutout victory over Gardner-Webb on Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore defender Nat Hubert scored both goals for the Bruins and led the team with four shots on the afternoon.

A foul around the 10th minute on Gardner-Webb put the Bruins in excellent position on the edge of the 18-yard box. On the subsequent free kick, Hubert nailed the shot into the back of the net to give Belmont a 1-0 lead.

In the 76th minute, senior midfielder Diego Figueroa fought his way through the backline and drew the foul inside the penalty box. Hubert had no trouble sending the penalty kick past Matthew Swan to double the lead for the Bruins.

Grayson Rector recorded three saves between the posts for Belmont for his first shutout this season. The Bruins outshot the Runnin’ Bulldogs 14-5 overall on the afternoon.

The Bruins travel down the boulevard to take part in the Lipscomb Invitational on Sept. 19-21 against Houston-Baptist and Memphis.

-Courtney Martinez

Volleyball (3-7)

2014 Blue Raider Bash

Sept. 14 v. Virginia Tech

Belmont volleyball beat ACC opponent, Virginia Tech in five sets Friday at the Middle Tennessee Blue Raider Bash.

Great play from freshman Arianna Person and senior Alex Martin propelled the Bruins to win the second set and tie up the match.

After falling in set three, Belmont scored 11 of the first 13 points in the fourth set with help from more quality play from Person and Martin. The Hokies tied up the score four times late in the set, but the Bruins eventually claimed the set, 25-22.

Freshman Ellie Ivancich served Belmont to a 10-4 lead in the fifth set. An error from Virginia Tech and a kill from senior Scarlet Gable put Belmont at match point, 14-9.

The Hokies didn’t give up yet as they won four straight points to close the gap to 14-13, but a crucial kill from freshman Emma Price secured the match for the Bruins.

Person led the Bruins with a career-high 15 kills and 12 digs, while Gable contributed eight kills and 13 digs.

Sept. 13 v. Washington St. Unable to continue the momentum from the previous night’s win over Virginia Tech, Belmont was edged in three sets to Washington State in day two of the Blue Raider Bash.

Washington State dominated the match, hitting .423 for the match and only recording seven attack errors.

Freshman Arianna Person gathered six kills and nine digs for Belmont.

Sept. 13 at MTSU

In their final contest of the 2014 Blue Raider Bash, Belmont volleyball lost a tough, five-set match to the host Middle Tennessee.

The close match was apparent in the opening set as Belmont found itself trailing 16-13 partway through the set. Belmont scored five of the next six points to take a slim 18-17 advantage and held on to win the set, 25-23.

The Blue Raiders took the second set 25-20.

In the third set, the Bruins took an early 6-4 advantage off three kills by Scarlet Gable. The set remained tight as neither team lead by more than two points.

With the match tied at 24, a kill from freshman Arianna Person and a MT hitting error gave Belmont the 26-24 victory and a 2-1 advantage on the match.

The Blue Raiders responded in the fourth set, but Belmont came back from a 22-16 deficit to tie the match up at 25. A pair of Belmont hitting errors gave MT a 27-25 victory.

Belmont earned a solid 7-3 advantage in the beginning of the final set thanks to three kills from Gable, but once again, MT responded with six-straight points to take a 9-7 lead.

The Bruins worked hard to gain back the lead, but MT proved too tough to beat and went on to capture the set 15-11 and the overall match 3-2.

Gable impressively finished with a double-double of 19 kills and 19 digs. Freshman Ellie Ivancich recorded a team-most 23 digs, while setter Emma Price finished with a career-high 51 assists along with 13 digs.

The Bruins make their way back home to the Curb Event Center to participate in the 2014 Bruin Classic Friday against Wright State at 6:30 p.m.

Women’s Soccer (3-2-2)

Sept. 12 at App State Unable to overcome an early deficit, the Belmont women’s soccer team lost its first two-game road swing in North Carolina to Appalachian State, 4-1.

Three and a half minutes into the contest, the Mountaineers notched their first goal on the night. Just ten minutes later, ASU scored a penalty kick to go up 2-0. Despite the early setback, the Bruins continued to battle.

ASU found the back of the net once again in the 29th minute of play to take a 3-0 lead in to halftime.

After the half, the Mountaineers scored in the 59th minute to take a large 4-0 lead. The Bruins continued to fire shots that just barely missed the goal. Finally, in the 80th minute, freshman Belicia Mendiola fired a shot from outside the 18-yard box to close the gap 4-1.

Sophomore Meg Howard lead Belmont with three shots followed by Mendiola with two.

Senior Megan Byrd recorded two saves on the night.

Sept. 14 at UNC Asheville

Although the team trailed at halftime, the Belmont women’s soccer team rallied behind its senior class to defeat new opponent UNC Asheville 2-1 on the road Sunday.

Senior Taylor Smith kicked off the team’s comeback in the 50th minute after the midfielder scored a header off the free kick from classmate Alison Alcott.

Less than five minutes later, senior Allie Hicks rocketed a shot for what would become the game-winning goal for the Bruins.

Belmont dominated the match in the shot column as the Bruins outshot the Bulldogs 22-8.

Senior Megan Byrd recorded only one save on the afternoon behind the great defensive play from the Bruins backline.

Belmont returns home on Sept. 19 to host the Evansville Purple Aces. The match is set for 4 p.m. at Rose Park.

-Courtney Martinez

Men’s Tennis Sept. 14 at River Forest Invitational

In the single matches, three Bruins reached the semifinals in their groups. Senior Mauricio Antun completed the sweep in his first two matches before falling to Jetta Kecic from Western Michigan 7-5, 6-0.

Senior Marko Lovrinovic also reached the semifinals in the same group with a sweep of Frederic Cadieux from Northern Illinois before defeating Ruben Greiner of Western Michigan in three sets. Lovrinovic fell in straight sets to Xavier’s Zach Mueck during the semifinals.

Sophomore Cedric Dujacquier opened up his group with a win over Western Michigan’s Malik Steiner in three sets before he completed a sweep over Brandon Woods from Butler. However, the sophomore also fell in the semifinals to Gabriel Araujo from Xavier 4-6, 6-2, 10-6.

In the double matches, two pairs for the Bruins were successful in their flights. Junior Robin Demasse and sophomore Bruno Russo reached the finals after defeating doubles from Northern Illinois and Xavier. However, in the final match, the duo fell to Butler 8-5.

Antun and Lovrinovic also competed in the doubles and won the consolation bracket over the pair from Butler 8-2.

The team continues the fall season on Sept. 19-21 to compete in the MTSU Dale Short Shootout in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

-Courtney Martinez

Cross Country

2014 Commodore Classic

Again at Percy Warner Park, the Belmont Cross Country teams enjoyed the home-field advantage as they competed against several nationally ranked teams at the 2014 Commodore Classic.

The men’s team finished fifth and the women finished seventh overall.

On the men’s side, freshman Evan Stifel finished 12th with a time of 25:12.99 seconds in the 8K race. Also finishing in the top 60 were senior John Sharpe (22nd), junior Kris Howard (31st), senior Marcus Bridger-Wilkinson (43rd), freshman Anthony Didion (48th), freshman Kaden Eaton (57th) and senior David Everett (58th).

For the women, junior Hannah Wittman lead the Belmont pack, crossing the 5K finish line with a time of 17:27.28 and a 12th place classification. In the top 50 runners for the women included freshman Jessica King (38th) and sophomore Molly Foster (39th).

Belmont’s next race is on Sept. 27 on the road in Stillwater, Okla. at the Cowboy Jamboree. After the performances at the Commodore Classic, both teams received strong rankings in the most recent USTFCCCA Regional polls released Monday.

The men’s team remained seventh while the women’s moved up one spot to 12th in the polls.

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