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Men's soccer beats Bradley in Missouri Valley opener

Winning its Missouri Valley Conference opener on Saturday night, the Belmont men’s soccer team defeated Bradley University 2-1 at E.S. Rose Park.

Coming off a crucial 2-0 win at the University of North Carolina Asheville, the Bruins maintained great control of the ball, created numerous goal scoring opportunities and capitalized in the second half to tally another win.

The Bruins started the match strong and after only 10 minutes, sophomore defender Dylan Steeley successfully found the back of the net with a header assisted by senior Jansen Wilson.

Belmont continued to push throughout the half to create chances but struggled to finish. Wilson and senior John Bannec came close to doubling the score but were denied by Bradley goalkeeper Will Nicholson.

In the second half, the Bruins continued to control the game with the same intensity.

In the 59th minute, Michael Saunders crossed the ball into the box as senior Liam O’Brien was able to get his foot on the ball to find his third goal of the season.

Saunders is now tied with Wilson for three assists this season.

With the game wrapping up, Belmont remained in full control until Bradley midfielder Patrick Fishburne narrowed the gap by finding the net with an unstoppable free kick.

In the final 10 minutes, Bradley – with nothing to lose – pushed with full force and hit the post off a header inside the box, coming inches close to drawing the game.

Still, Belmont held on to win the match.

“In conference games, there’s different intensity to it,” O’Brien said. “Everything comes harder, you got to work for everything.”

With this third win of the season, at home, Belmont is still undefeated and holds a 14-match unbeaten streak.

“This is a special team,” said Wilson. “We have a bond like I’ve never seen before, so we all go out there and fight to get the win.”

Belmont will now travel to Indianapolis to face off against Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Tuesday at 2 p.m. as it seeks to get its second away win of the season.

The Bruins currently hold a 3-1-2 record.

PHOTO Junior midfielder Michael Saunders scores the second goal of the match Ben Burton/Belmont Vision

This article was written by Federico Pravettoni

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