To say the Belmont women’s soccer team’s run to the NCAA tournament was improbable would be an understatement.
The No. 6-seeded Bruins won a slew of one-goal matches in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament, knocking off Austin Peay, 1-0, UT Martin, 3-2, and Murray State, 2-1, to reach the title match.
From there, Belmont took down SIU Edwardsville 3-2 in penalty kicks to claim the OVC crown and reach its second-ever NCAA tournament appearance. Belmont became the lowest seed to ever win the OVC championship.
"To win the championship and to win in PKs for this senior class, it's one of the highest points of their four years," Belmont coach Heather Henson told belmontbruins.com. "Everybody hates PKs. That just shows neither team wanted to give up and neither team wanted to make a mistake. SIUE did a fabulous job. For our seniors to do that, it was redemption for the PKs to go in our direction."
Belmont stopped 14 SIUE corner kicks — the most against the Bruins since Sept. 2015 — to send the game to overtime tied 0-0. After two scoreless overtime periods, Belmont’s final OVC tournament match was decided with PKs.
Kameron Ziesig, Julie Garst and Sydney Cason all scored goals in the PKs as keeper Sarah Doyle turned away a final SIUE shot to seal the OVC tournament title.
"This championship would not happen without all of the alumni that have come through this program," Henson said. "All of our alumni have set the foundation for our program to take it step by step by step, trust the process and eventually get us this OVC Championship."
Belmont will find out its NCAA tournament opponent during Monday’s tournament selection show at 3:30 p.m. There will be a viewing party at Belmont in the First Lecture Hall at 3 p.m.
Williamson County is well-represented on the team with six team members.
Ziesig and defender Jordan Chawan are all alums of Brentwood HS, while defender Grace Parsons, forward Claire Fallon and midfielder MacKenzie Firek attended Ravenwood.
Julie Garst went to Independence for high school.
This story originally ran in our sister publication, the Nashville Post.