October 12th, 2015

BU sets program record with 13-game unbeaten streak

Adam Pruiett

Bellarmine University Assistant S.I.D

BU sets program record with 13-game unbeaten streak
Freshman Erika Laws notched the game-winning assist / photo provided by Bellarmine athletics

 ROMEOVILLE, Ill. — The Bellarmine University women's soccer team could have collectively shrugged its shoulders after Lewis goalkeeper Jennifer Meyer made a pair of diving stabs on would-be goals, another open shot caromed off the post and yet another dinged off the crossbar.

Instead, the 14th-ranked Knights shrugged off their misfortune.

In fact, junior forward Mary Beth Gorham turned that last near-miss into an opportunity, driving a header into the open net on a rebound inside the last minute as the visiting and undefeated Knights pulled out a dramatic 1-0 triumph Sunday over the Flyers in Great Lakes Valley Conference action.

By sewing up another victory, Bellarmine (12-0-1, 9-0-1 GLVC) set a new program record by pushing its unbeaten streak to 13 matches. In addition, the Knights secured an astonishing 12th shutout in 13 matches while blanking their eighth straight opponent.

"There's just something about this group right now," BU Coach Chris Tinius said. "They fight hard and they believe if we stick to the process trying to do the right things that good things will happen. It won't always play out to the extreme that it has so far this season, but more times than not you will be successful. I couldn't be more proud of their commitment to that mindset."

It took about 15 minutes in the first half for Bellarmine to settle in against Lewis (7-4-2, 5-3-2). Once that happened, though, the Knights mostly dominated the action, ringing up 19 shots to the three of the Flyers, including a 7-1 advantage in shots on goal.

Meyer made a pair of superb saves for Lewis where she sprawled out to bat away shots that were headed for the net. Junior defender Lexy Hazle also came away shaking her head after her shot hit the post and bounced away. Then, with less than one minute left, freshman midfielder Erika Laws nearly sank the game-winner before seeing her shot clank off the crossbar.

But things ultimately took a turn for the better as the ball descended a few yards in front of the goal to a hard-charging Gorham, who punched a header into the wide-open net with 47 seconds left. It was Gorham's 10th goal of the season and 33rd of her career, which ties her for second all-time in program history with Tanya Wheeler (1996-99). Jaime Halas (2003-06) is the leader with 39.

Laws recorded the assist on the game-winning goal for the second straight match.

"We talked at halftime that we may need to score an 'ugly' lunging, diving or rebound type of goal sometime to get things going," Tinius said. "We had several chances at those in the second half, and the third time was the charm. (Freshman forward) Audrey Van Der Elst made a great choice to swing it to Erika, and Erika hit the ball well technically to get it on frame and Mary Beth followed the play."

Bellarmine's defense locked in and didn't allow the Flyers many chances to get a shot off, let alone score. Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Smith amassed her seventh shutout and still has yet to allow a goal this season.

"We could have been smarter and more precise in the final third at times, and when we were clean, their keeper made a couple of phenomenal saves," Tinius said. "Other than that, I thought we were pretty darn good. We created plenty of chances, we possessed when we needed to possess, we played more direct when it was on and we stayed pretty organized to negate a potentially dangerous attacking unit."

Bellarmine will host Quincy on Friday and Truman State on Sunday in a pivotal weekend in GLVC play. With two victories this weekend, the Knights moved to 6-0-1 away from Owsley B. Frazier Stadium.

"This was a great effort to get a second win on this road trip," Tinius said. "Lewis is a good team, and they were all over us the first 15 minutes or so and could have easily been up 1-0. Once we settled in, I thought the last 75 minutes was one of our better performances of the season."


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