Strong second half pushes Abbey past Bobcats, 2-0

Strong second half pushes Abbey past Bobcats, 2-0

BELMONT, N.C. --- The Belmont Abbey College men's soccer team broke a scoreless halftime deadlock with two goals in the second half Wednesday en route to a 2-0 victory over visiting Lees-McRae College in Conference Carolinas play.

Belmont Abbey (4-3, 2-1-1 CC) edged Lees-McRae (2-7, 1-2 CC) by an 11-8 margin in attempts at goal, including an 8-1 advantage in the second half after the Bobcats outshot the Abbey, 7-3, in the opening 45 minutes. Lees-McRae also held a narrow 8-6 advantage in corner kicks in the match.

Preston Shahdad (Charlotte, N.C.) paced the Bobcats with four attempts at goal, including two on frame, as James Galvani (High Wycombe, England) added two shots of his own. Thomas Rusling (Sheffield, England) made five saves for the Bobcats.

Jose Penaloza and Declan McQuillan each found the back of the net for Belmont Abbey, as Ross Smith and Lucas Campoy both added an assist. McQuillan paced the Abbey with three shots, all on frame, while Phillip Bru made five saves to keep a clean sheet.

The Bobcats went on the attack fresh off the first whistle, forcing four saves from Bru in the opening half hour, including a pair of sensational stops on two Galvani efforts in the 25th and 29th minutes. McQuillan nearly gave Belmont Abbey the breakthrough in the 37th minute, only to be denied by Rusling as the junior goalkeeper made his first stop of the day to preserve the deadlock heading into the interval.

Belmont Abbey carried the momentum into the second half, snatching the breakthrough off McQuillan's foot in the closing moments of the 64th minute following a through ball from Smith. The Abbey would continue to press the attack over the next 20 minutes, forcing Rusling into back-to-back saves before Penaloza doubled the advantage to 2-0 in the 83rd minute off a cross from Campoy.

Lees-McRae returns to the pitch on Saturday when the Bobcats host Coker College in conference play at 5:30 p.m. on Tate Field.

- LMC -