In a display of marked control and team cohesiveness, the men’s soccer team shut out the Cleveland State Vikings 1-0 at Rose Park Friday evening in their opening game of the Belmont Invitational.
“It’s just further proof that we are doing good things and the guys are getting more comfortable together,” Belmont coach Earle Davidson said. “We are getting better each game at controlling the pace, which is something you have to develop in the early going.”
From the opening whistle, Belmont quickly set the tone for the game, controlling possession in the midfield and putting pressure against a tough Cleveland State squad.
After a takeaway and pass by senior midfielder Nico Olsak, sophomore Alfred Edmonds sent a strike past Cleveland State goalkeeper Joe Kalt to put the Bruins up on the board in the third minute.
“Nico read the play well and won a nice ball into Alfie and a great finish from Alfie,” Davidson said. “When you are playing well, you want to get a reward. It spurs the group on and sets the tone.”
Both teams took a total of five shots, but the early goal from Belmont proved to be the only one it needed. Cleveland State had several opportunities off free kicks late in the game but were wide each time.
While possession shifted in favor of the Vikings in the second half, the Bruins’ backline read and defended properly against the attacks it faced.
“We talked about keeping lines a bit closer together and being more compact,” Davidson said. “They (the backline) were very much in line with each other, cohesive and read each other’s movements well.”
Freshman Grayson Rector earned the shutout victory for Belmont with two saves on goal.
With the victory, the Bruins improved their overall record to 2-1 for the season.
Belmont will conclude hosting the invitational against the University of Illinois at Chicago Flames on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
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