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Bruins escape OVC opener with overtime draw

Facing off against the defending conference champion, the Belmont women’s soccer team battled to a 2-2 draw in a double overtime thriller against Morehead State on Friday afternoon.

“Any time you go into a conference game, you’re trying to get three points. But you don’t want to lose the one you can get,” said Belmont coach Heather Henson. “I’m so proud of their effort to push through coming back to tie it.”

Belmont wasted little time trying to find the scoreboard when midfielder Tara Austin almost scored 30 seconds into the contest. The freshman’s header barely bounced off the crossbar and in between the goal line.

Minutes later, Meg Howard created another chance for the Bruins but narrowly missed it wide.

Belmont was finally rewarded for its efforts when Meredith Martin finished a header off a cross to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.

“That’s the way we would like to play. We want to go forward and go forward fast. For us, it’s about how can we jump on them and put pressure on them as quick as possible,” Henson said.

On the opposite side of the pitch, the Bruins defense had no issues with the Eagles offense early in the first half. Morehead State did not create a shot on goal until Jade Flory sent one that trimmed the crossbar in the 18th minute.

Morehead State recorded only three shots compared to Belmont’s five heading into halftime with the Bruins holding the 1-0 advantage

While the Bruins came out strong to start the game, the momentum shifted in favor of the Eagles during the second half.

Morehead State finally found the back of the net with a goal by Angela Black on a strange bounce in the 66th minute.

With less than 10 minutes remaining in regulation, Black scored her second goal to give the Eagles their first lead of the afternoon.

Junior Sydney Omweg created a breakaway chance for the Bruins but a flagrant foul by Kelsey Gomez prevented the forward from scoring. The Eagles defender received a straight red card, forcing Morehead State to play a man down for the remainder of the game.

“Omweg’s game has continued to grow each and every year and even throughout the season. She plays a very simple game. She knows what she’s looking to do and aware of the defenders,” said Henson.

On the subsequent free kick, Belicia Mendiola curved a shot into the top shelf of the goal for the equalizer with less than two minutes, sending the game into overtime.

While the first overtime period saw little offensive action, both teams had equal opportunity to find the game winner. With 8:30 remaining, another unfortunate crossbar bounce denied the Bruins again, this time on the shot from Omweg.

Black attempted to go for the hat trick with three minutes to go in overtime. However a tight angle kept the forward at bay. The match eventually ended in the 2-2 draw.

“It felt good to have a conference game. We came out really strong but allowed two goals in the second half,” said Martin. “We were able to fight back and I think that shows the heart of our team. I think that’s going to take us far in conference.”

Belmont continues conference play on Sunday when the Bruins host Eastern Kentucky. The match is set for 2 p.m. at E.S. Rose Park.

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