In a thrilling preseason edition of the Battle of the Boulevard, the Belmont men’s soccer team dropped a 3-2 double overtime contest to Lipscomb Saturday night.
The Bisons have not lost a Battle of the Boulevard match since 2005.
Lipscomb defender Luke Gearin notched the game winner with a penalty kick in the 103rd minute.
While the result was not in favor of the Bruins, Belmont head coach Bryan Green thought the team’s performance showcased what they worked on during the offseason.
“Most of the week we worked on defending and I thought we did a good job of doing just that. We just turned it over,” said Green, who is in his first season at Belmont. “On the attacking side, I thought we were very comfortable on the ball and carried what we did in the spring into tonight.”
After a defensive breakdown in the 16th minute near the Belmont 18-yard line, Lipscomb forward Zach Tarbox capitalized on a one-on-one opportunity and sent a shot past Grayson Rector for the first goal of the evening.
“Three of the goals up there came from our mistakes. I mean it happens, but we need to just cut out the simple mistakes and do the best that we can,” Rector said.
The Bisons created several opportunities to double their lead, especially in the 30th minute off consecutive corner kicks. However, Rector stood tall between the pipes for the Bruins to keep Lipscomb at bay.
In the 40th minute, AJ Arnold found the equalizer for Belmont when the sophomore forward created a breakaway off a Lipscomb turnover and buried it past goalkeeper Micah Bledsoe.
“We rebounded very well and controlled the rest of the first half and got a goal for it. I thought mentality wise we did a great job of responding to adversity,” Green said.
During the opening minutes of second half, Belmont used the momentum from Arnold’s goal and nearly took its first lead in the 54th minute. Freshman Matt Vuylsteke capitalized off a through pass from midfield but the shot was stopped with a diving save from Nate Davis.
On the subsequent Lipscomb counterattack, Rector helped preserve the tie with impressive stops of his own. He finished the night with six saves.
“He had one huge saved that he bailed us out and then a couple of other good saves. But he’s also very big for us in possession,” Green said. “He used his feet a lot and we were able to keep possession a lot more by using him and his foot skills.”
In the 66th minute Lipscomb midfielder Josue Chavez broke the deadlock with an impressively placed top corner shot from 25 yards out to give the Bisons a 2-1 lead.
The lead would not last long as Belmont freshman Rashad Hyacenth split the defenders in the 75th minute to even the game and send the game into extra time.
While the Bruins held their own against the Bisons’ pressure, a penalty kick from Gearrin in the second overtime period sealed the 3-2 win for Lipscomb.
“I think we worked very hard as a team,” Arnold said. “Coming in we had the right game plan and executed well. But we just didn’t get the results.”
Belmont will close out their preseason when they host Northern Kentucky at Rose Park on Aug. 23 at 4 p.m.