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Preview: Women’s soccer kicks off 2018 season with exhibition matches

The Belmont women’s soccer team will kick off its 2018 season this week with two exhibition matches, playing at Chattanooga on Thursday and Western Kentucky on Sunday.

The Bruins — led by head coach Heather Henson — finished their 2017 season with a 10-6-2 record, the team’s best in nine years. They entered the Ohio Valley Soccer Championship as the No. 4 seed and lost in the quarterfinal match against No. 5 seed Southeast Missouri.

This year’s OVC preseason poll predicts the Bruins will finish fourth in the conference. The Bruins tied with Southeast Missouri in the poll, behind Tennessee Tech, Eastern Kentucky and Murray State.

The team lost five seniors after last season, including All-OVC first team superstar Belicia Mendiola who led the team in points, goals, assists, shots and shots on goal.

But fans can still expect to see plenty of familiar faces on the field, including six returning seniors.

Also returning are sophomores Sydney Carson and Julie Garst, who were elected to the All-OVC Newcomer Team in 2017. Garst also made the All-OVC Second Team in 2017 and ranked second in points and goals for the Bruins.

The team has also gained some new talent, with seven freshmen joining the team this season, along with Valerie Tysinger, a new assistant coach.

After one season coaching with the Trevecca Trojans, Tysinger came to Belmont help coach the goalkeeper squad this season.

Belmont will host its regular season opener at E.S. Rose Park on Friday Aug. 17 against Lipscomb. The team will then start conference play at Austin Peay on Sept. 14.

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