The Belmont women’s soccer team has made Ohio Valley Conference history by qualifying for the OVC Tournament for the fourth straight year.
The Bruins will be facing Austin Peay University in Martin, Tennessee on Friday.
The Bruins clinched their spot in the eight-team tournament on Sunday against Austin Peay. They won by only one goal scored by senior Niki Clements, who is leading the Bruins in goals with five so far this year. This is Clements’ fourth year in the tournament and she is ready for one final run, she said.
“The goal is to make it farther than last year,” said Clements. “Every year we go we have to go farther than the year before. Go to the end.”
The win was bittersweet, because not only did they get into the tournament, but it was the last home game for eight seniors. On top of all this, the game broke the record for attendance for Belmont women’s soccer with a total of 513 fans.
The team is more than ready for the rematch against Austin Peay, with head coach Heather Henson preparing the team for Friday, she said.
“The game itself is fresh in our minds, the opportunities that we created are fresh in our minds,” said Henson. “The instances that we need to clean up are fresh in our minds.”
The Bruins’ ability to never give up and keep pushing forward regardless of the ups and downs is what will lead to success, said senior Shannon Maitland.
“It’s about the battle and giving it our all, whether it’s 90 mintutes or 110. It’s going to be just giving it our all the entire time and it’s going to be about heart, because both teams are going to want this so bad,” said Maitland.
The team had a rocky start, holding a record of 1-4-2 going into conference play. But they finished strong by winning or tying six out of the last seven games. They also haven’t lost an overtime game out of the five they played this season.
The eight seniors have brought this team together for one final time in their college careers. This team is a family and they are more than ready for this tournament, said Henson.
“Their determination to compete until the very end, I think, is number one,” said Henson. “How tight they are as a family, because a family will run through a brick wall for each other.”
This article written by Hanley Riggs. Photo by Colby Crosby.