When it hit the pitch for the last home match of the season, the men’s soccer team had only one goal on its mind: to send out the senior class with a final victory at E.S. Rose Park.
Belmont accomplished its mission with a 1-0 victory over Western Illinois Tuesday evening. The lone goal of the match came from sophomore Raphael Colmanette in the 52nd minute.
“As we told the guys in the locker room as we came out, I said ‘There is really only one way to honor the seniors.’ They all said at the same time ‘That’s to win’,” said Belmont coach Earle Davidson.
For senior and team captain Charlie Dankert, the night could not have gone better for him and his fellow seniors.
“It feels great as the last home game for us five seniors. It’s the best way to end it on a shutout and with a great team effort.”
The first half was full of fast-paced action as both Belmont and Western Illinois each created chances in the other’s half.
The Leathernecks’ best two chances happened in the 18th minute mark, but keeper Grayson Rector stood tall in the box and came up with the stops the Bruins needed.
As the half continued, the Bruins pressed forward and had several attempts within the final fifteen minutes of the half inside the Leathernecks’ box.
The greatest chance for the Bruins came with less than nine minutes remaining in the half when Dankert sent a high cross towards the back post. But junior Cody Carpenter could not control the header, and the shot sailed high.
The teams remained scoreless at the end of the half, while the Bruins led the shots total 6-4.
Eight minutes into the second half, Belmont was awarded a corner kick that the Western Illinois’ defense attempted to clear. However, the clearance landed right in front of Colmanette who capitalized on a shot from 20 yards out to give Belmont the 1-0 lead.
“We had a lot of corner kicks but weren’t quite getting it to where we wanted to,” Davidson said. “That one was a good service and put them in a dangerous place so they had to have a sloppy clearance. Rafa was right on it.”
Despite being down by a goal, Western Illinois would not go down without a fight and created attempts off corner kicks late in the game.
With almost three minutes remaining, forward Erick Bloom tried to find the equalizer, but the shot bounced off the crossbar.
Western Illinois would continue to have opportunities inside the box, but the defense from Belmont was able to shutdown the attack and hold onto the 1-0 victory.
“When it’s going down to the wire like that, everyone just hangs on tight and play the ball out,” Dankert said. “Do what you can to make sure they don’t score, and we did the best we could to keep it out of the net.”
With the victory, the Bruins earned their sixth win of the season, four of which have come at Rose Park. Belmont will close out the year on the road on Nov. 15 against Georgia State.