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Postseason hopes end with senior day loss

Entering the match Saturday, the Belmont men’s soccer team still had a chance to make a late-season push toward the Horizon League conference tournament.

All the Bruins needed were two victories and other results from around the league.

However, Belmont’s postseason hopes ended with a 1-0 loss to Detroit on senior day at E.S. Rose Park.

Adam Clauss scored the lone goal of the match on a penalty kick in the 38th minute.

“When you go down a goal to a team like that, they’re okay with that. We were very sluggish off the ball. Even though it picked up a lot in the second half, the first half cost us,” said Belmont coach Bryan Green.

Detroit wasted little time to create an attack and earned a free kick opportunity 30 seconds into the match. But Grayson Rector and the Bruins defense cleared away the attempt.

Windy conditions made it difficult for Belmont to capitalize off set pieces including the three corner kicks earned by the Bruins in the first half.

In the 18th minute, a clearance by Kyle Malden found a wide-open Rashad Hyacenth on the opposite side of the pitch. The forward tried to split the physical Titans defense but the chance was eventually cleared away.

With the first half coming to a close, Belmont midfielder Ryan Tapley and Detroit forward Spiro Pliakos battled for an open ball near the edge of the box. Both players collided but the referees called the foul on Tapley and awarded the penalty kick to the Titans.

Clauss buried the attempt past Rector to give the Titans the 1-0 lead.

While the Bruins were without defensive leader Anthony Torres, senior Luca Schioppa stepped up into a central defensive midfielder role and engaged on the attack as well.

“Luca’s been playing great all year. In the last three games, he’s been without a doubt our best player on the field. But we had to give him a different role today,” said Green.

Schioppa made several sprints through the midfield for the Bruins and tried to set up his teammates inside the box.

The best chance for Belmont came in the 75th minute when the midfielder found an open Joonas Bask on a free kick opportunity. However, the forward couldn’t connect his header on frame for the Bruins.

“We dropped our midfielders into the back so we could keep the ball and move one side to the other,” Schioppa said. “We tried to push the last 10 minutes but they were very well-organized defensively. We had good chances. Unfortunately we couldn’t score.”

Clauss nearly added an insurance goal for the Titans in the 85th minute but Rector dove for the fingertip save. Minutes later, the Bruins offense managed one more attempt with a corner kick by Adriano Balani.

But once again Belmont couldn’t produce a clean shot as Detroit narrowly held on for the win. Overall the Bruins outshot the Titans 7-5 on the afternoon.

Belmont completes its season on the road against University of Illinois-Chicago on Nov. 8.

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