NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Nico Olsak (Boca Raton, Fla.) assisted on three Bruin goals and junior Brandon Tarr (Knoxville, Tenn.) scored twice, as the Belmont men's soccer team (4-3-0) defeated IPFW (3-5-1) by a score of 4-0 to claim the Hyatt Place Brentwood Invitational title on Sunday afternoon.
"All of the things we've been working on, and getting better at, really seemed to come together today," Head Coach Earle Davidson said of Sunday's victory. "Our decision making on the ball was outstanding, and we really wore them down. It was an extremely focused performance and the guys played to their strengths."
Belmont got out to another quick start, scoring within the first three minutes of play. Olsak fed Tarr a ball just outside the box, and the team-leading scorer for the Bruins then beat a defender and struck the ball off IPFW goalkeeper Ryan Bristol to give BU the early 1-0 lead.
"We've been playing really well lately, but today's goal was to get that winning record," Tarr said. "That was our motivation and we were able to come out quickly and score early. It's all about getting better, and each game we are doing that, which says a lot about our team."
Olsak recorded his second assist of the match when he chipped a ball to senior Dan Meacock (Sarasota, Fla.), who headed it past Bristol just over five minutes into the second half. Meacock's header goal was his first score of the season, but puts him in fifth place all-time in Belmont annals with 15 career goals.
"It's my job out there," Olsak said of feeding his teammates for goals. "As soon as I get the ball my first responsibility is to look up and find my forwards, and I tried to do that to the best of my ability today."
That he did as sophomore Diego Figueroa (Pensacola, Fla.) became the final recipient of an Olsak assist, as the midfielders hooked up for Belmont's third goal of the game in the 57th minute of play. Figueroa received a ball from Olsak just inside the right side of the box, and he beat Bristol to the far post for his first goal of the year.
"Creatively, with his vision, his touch, what he's able to do on and off the ball, he's dynamite," Davidson said about Olsak. "We have him in the position now, playing further up field, where he can do more of the special things that he is capable of. The stats don't always tell the story in soccer, but right now for Nico, they are. He's creating a lot of chances for us."
Tarr finished the Belmont offensive output with his fifth score of the season in the 82nd minute. Sophomore Alex Jenison (Evansville, Ind.) fired a shot off of goalkeeper Brandon Cloutier that rebounded out to Tarr. The junior forward fired it into the back of the net to cap off the BU victory.
Tarr's three goals and one assist on the weekend give the junior 20 scores and 49 total points in his career. The mark puts him two goals shy of tying the all-time Belmont record of 22 goals, set by Fernando Castellanos from 2002-03. Castellanos is also the final Bruin for Tarr to catch for career points, with 54 in his career.
Belmont outshot IPFW by a mark of 20-9, but only recorded three corner kicks to the Mastodons' four. BU junior goalkeeper Lou Manning (Southlake, Texas) recorded seven saves, as he tallied his first shutout of the season. Bristol and Cloutier combined for nine saves in the loss.
"It definitely means a lot to win this tournament," Olsak said. "Our first win was huge, as Bowling Green had beaten a couple of really good teams, and today we came out looking to keep possession as much as we could, and it turned out well for us."
"Winning the tournament, and now taking three in a row, it builds confidence," Davidson concluded. "It proves to everyone what we already knew, which is that we're playing well, and we have a great group of kids on this team."
Belmont will next travel to SIU Edwardsville for a 7:00 p.m. tilt on Thursday, September 22. The Bruins will then return home to host Evansville on Sunday, September 25 before beginning Atlantic Sun Conference play the following Thursday.
UPDATE: Tarr, Olsak, junior Bradley Shuck (Shelbyville, Ky.), and senior Edgardo Padilla (Grapevine, Texas) were named to the Hyatt Place Brentwood All-Tournament Team following the final contest of the weekend.