NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Belmont men's soccer team (2-3-0) defeated VMI (0-5-0) by a score of 2-1 in the final game of the Mafiaoza's Invitational on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Bruins placed second in the tournament behind Georgia Southern, which defeated Lipscomb 3-1 earlier in the day.
After losing to GSU on Friday, Belmont came out firing on all cylinders Sunday afternoon. The Bruins scored the first goal of the contest after missing on a number of early chances. Senior Will Moorad (Brentwood, Tenn.), who made his first start of the season against VMI, beat the Keydet keeper in the 36th minute to give BU an early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Alex Jenison (Evansville, Ind.) recorded an assist on the play after feeding the ball to Moorad in the box.
Moorad's first score of the season was a timely one, as it gave Belmont its first lead since holding a 2-1 advantage at home against Memphis on September 1st. The senior forward now has 16 career goals scored, and moved into a tie for second in Belmont annals for career points, with 43.
"A.J. [Alex Jenison] made a great run into the box on the left side, played a nice header touch, and I just stepped in and snuck it by the keeper," Moorad said of his first half goal.
The Bruins went into halftime with the slight 1-0 advantage, but had been on the offensive for most of the half, tallying five corner kicks to VMI's one. Junior Lou Manning (Southlake, Texas) and Keydet goalkeeper Taylor Feuerstein each had two saves in the opening frame.
Just over 11 minutes into the second half, VMI tied the game at 1-1. Junior Matt Seinfeld played a free kick over the Belmont defense, and junior David Rochow ran onto the ball and headed past Manning for the score.
The Bruins continued to control possession in the midfield while attempting to create chances for the game-winner after giving up the second half score.
"We have a lot of guys who have a really high level of technical ability, so as long as we keep our patience, we can dictate the tempo of the game," Head Coach Earle Davidson said. "Controlling the midfield is something we train for. It's something that we spend a lot of time on, and we have a lot of guys that are good at it, so we're glad it's paying dividends for us."
That it did, as BU midfielders connected for the game-winning goal in the 76th minute of play. Junior Pedro Miranda (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) beat a defender and made a run down the left side of the box. He fed a great ball into the box that was deflected by a VMI defender straight to the foot of senior Edgardo Padilla (Grapevine, Texas).
Padilla one-timed a volley that most in attendance assumed would sail over the net for a goal kick. Unfortunately for the Keydets, Padilla's shot sailed over Feuerstein, but dipped under the cross bar and into the back of the net. It marked Padilla's second score of the season, and sixth of the captain's career.
"It was a hard fought game on both sides," Padilla said about Sunday's contest. "Being the second game of the weekend, both teams were a bit tired, so we came out and played as hard as we could to get the win."
The Bruins held on for the 2-1 victory, and placed second in the tournament with a 1-1 record. Belmont outshot VMI 18-15 and recorded seven corner kicks to the Keydets' four. Manning totaled four saves, while Feuerstein recorded five in the defeat.
"I thought we were very good," Davidson said of the win. "We controlled the match for long stretches. They can be a tough team to play against, because they're very organized and they defend a lot, but we kept our composure and created a number of really good chances."
Belmont's Manning, Miranda, and Padilla were all named to the Mafiaoza's Invitational All-Tournament Team following the completion of the final contest. Feuerstein and Rochow were honored for VMI, while Lipscomb's Brent McGee and Omar Djobi earned the accolades as well. Team champions Georgia Southern earned four All-Tournament Team honorees; Ryan Platt, Hunter Norton, Luigi Clendening, and Seth Prieto.
The Bruins will next compete in the Lipscomb Invitational next weekend, which will also take place at Rose Park. BU will take on Bowling Green on Friday at 5:00 p.m. and play against IPFW on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
"This win gives us a bunch of momentum moving into next weekend's tournament, which will be right back here at our home field," Moorad concluded.