In a scoreless draw with the University of Evansville Wednesday night at E.S. Rose Park, Belmont recorded its fourth shutout of the season.
With this matchup, the Bruins extended their unbeaten streak to tie the program record of seven games undefeated.
Belmont faced an aggressive and technical Evansville side in a physical 90 minutes with several missed chances from both sides.
Evansville lined up on the field with an international starting lineup, featuring an American player and ten international students from Canada, Denmark, Italy, Spain and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Purple Aces started the game strong in the first ten minutes with two corners, good spells of possession and a shot from outside the box by Evansville midfielder Carlos Barcia, not too far off of graduate Nate Logan’s goal.
In the 26th minute, the Purple Aces made themselves dangerous again with a free kick from forward Nacho Diaz, close to the upper left corner but wide of the Bruin goal.
Belmont’s first real chance came minutes after Evansville’s free kick. Senior defender John Bannec won the ball back and played it to Jansen Wilson, who left it for Esteban Leiva with a dummy. He turned and served junior Michael Saunders, who dribbled away from the defender and took a left-footed shot toward the back post. Evansville goalkeeper Alex Vidizzoni made a diving save to keep the Aces afloat.
The Bruins suffered from some of Evansville’s possession but stayed in the game and came close to the lead with a curved free kick from Wilson. The Italian goalkeeper denied the Bruins again with another crucial save.
The second half was a mirror of the first as both teams struggled to find space and finalize their chances.
In the 52nd minute, Belmont lost possession at midfield and the Purple Aces countered with midfielder Jose Vivas who played a through ball in space for Kai Phillip. Phillip won the footrace with Belmont defender Dylan Steely but was stopped by Logan.
In the last five minutes, Belmont and Evansville both came close to the winning goal, making themselves dangerous in the final third.
The Bruins tied their second home MVC game in a row against a side they beat 2-1 in October 2021.
Both Logan and Vidizzoni came up with four and six saves respectively.
“It's always good to keep the ball out of the back of the net,” said Logan.
Bannec said the tie was bittersweet and felt like his team was the better side.
“Feels a little shorthanded, but we're going to keep the same momentum,” said Bannec. “Every conference game is pivotal.”
Belmont will hit the road to play three away matches in the next 13 days, starting with a game against Missouri State University on Sunday. Then, they will face Drake University on Oct. 15 and Bellarmine University on Oct. 19.
The Bruins will return to E.S. Rose Park to play Missouri State again on Oct. 23.
Currently, Belmont holds a record of 5-1-4 and 2-0-2 in the MVC.
This article was written by Federico Pravettoni