The Belmont men’s soccer team (1-10, 0-3 HL) suffered a close loss to Cleveland State 1-0 Saturday afternoon at E.S. Rose Park.
Cleveland State improves its conference record to 2-0, while Belmont remains winless in conference play after dropping its third straight game.
“Cleveland State has a very good team and a few key players that are tough to rattle or get anything off of them,” said Belmont coach Bryan Green. “With that being said we had some chances and it was still 0-0. I think a mental lapse allowed that goal and then we went down 1-0 and were chasing.”
Belmont came out with energy but the Vikings maintained possession the first few minutes, giving them enough momentum to carry through the first half.
The first shot of the game came at the end of the ninth minute, by Viking’s Kevin Blackwood. It was followed by another close call in the 15th minute when Viking’s Alvaro Pichardo hit a shot from only 12 yards out, however his kick went wide.
Strong winds were a factor in today’s game with more than 15 mph winds.
“I think we never could get going and the wind was a factor of that,” said Green. “We never really established ourselves.”
In the 35th minute, Belmont had its first scoring opportunity but was stopped by Vikings keeper Nick Ciraldo before he could get his shot off.
Although neither team had scored, the Bruins did not stop Cleveland State from dictating the first half with nine Viking shots to Belmont’s zero. The Vikings also earned four corner kicks to Belmont’s zero.
The Bruins came out with more intensity at the start of the second half. In the 58th minute, forward Rashad Hyacenth was one-on-one with Ciraldo, but the freshman’s shot went wide.
Belmont continued to attack for the next few minutes and earned two more shots but neither was successful.
In the 68th minute, Vikings scored the lone goal of the match off Mike Derezic’s header on the assist by Jake Lagania to give the Vikings a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins finished with eight shots in the second half but couldn’t find the equalizer as the match ended in favor of the Vikings.
Belmont will be on the road in Atlanta for its next game on Tuesday versus Georgia State at 6 p.m.
By Kendall Warren