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Men's soccer ties with UAB in exhibition action

Junior midfielder Mikey Saunders on the attack. Photo courtesy of Emma Moore/Belmont Athletics

On a windy afternoon at E.S. Rose Park, the Belmont men’s soccer team hosted the University of Alabama Birmingham, finishing in a scoreless draw.

Coming off two friendlies played at Lipscomb University and Northern Kentucky University; the Bruins made their 2023 debut at Rose Park.

Saturday's match marked the first of three consecutive home exhibition matches for Belmont’s spring season.

In a balanced and competitive game, both teams possessed and created but struggled to finish in the final third.

The first half brought a pair of scoring opportunities for Belmont.

Junior forward Jansen Wilson had a pair of runs on the left flank but was unable to finalize after dribbling through Blazer defenders on each attempt.

The Bruins continued to be aggressive as Junior midfielder Michael Saunders took a right-footed shot, but it sailed wide.

Belmont continued to push through in the second half with hopes of breaking the deadlock with the visitors.

In the final 15 minutes, the Bruins came their closest to finding the back of the net during the match.

As the 78th minute ticked on the scoreboard, Saunders passed to junior midfielder A.J. Chastonay from outside the box.

Chastonay attempted to work magic with his feet and curved shot 20-yards out aiming for the top left corner, but it was quickly denied by the UAB goalkeeper.

With five minutes left, Wilson took a shot just outside of the eighteen from the right side, but it was saved.

On the rebound, junior Sebastian Leiva attempted to push the ball past the goalkeeper, but the Bruins were denied yet again.

The ball then landed on freshman Riley Clothier’s feet, outside of the box, but the hearty defender, a member of the 2022 MVC All-Freshman Team, shot the ball just over the crossbar.

In the 89th minute, Saunders hit Belmont’s last shot of the match with good positioning from outside of the eighteen, but his attempt was unsuccessful.

In the second half of the match, freshman midfielder Simeon Betapudi, a member of the Bruins’ roster since the fall, made his Belmont debut on the pitch.

Freshmen Connor MacLean and Ethan Schlegel also got their first minutes as Belmont tied with UAB.

Although only an exhibition match, Belmont remains unbeaten at home dating back to Mar. 30, 2021.

The Bruins will play at E.S. Rose Park two more times before the spring season concludes.

Belmont hosts Trevecca Nazarene University on April 5 at 7 p.m. and University of the Cumberlands on April 15 at 6 p.m.

This article was written by Federico Pravettoni

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