Belmont Ends Enchanted Season, 0-2

The Bruins lose to host Auburn in their first visit to the NCAA Tournament.

Freshman Jamie Loftis had one of Belmont four total shots against Auburn.

Nov. 14, 2008

AUBURN, Ala. - The best season in Belmont women's soccer history came to a close as Auburn defeated the Bruins 2-0 in the first round of the NCAA Division I Soccer Championships on Friday night. It was Belmont's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.

"The girls had a great Atlantic Sun Tournament to get to this point," Head Coach Lisa Howe said. "I thought that we prepared well -- and were prepared for Auburn. Overall, I thought that our play was fine for a young team. I thought that we were composed and we played within our game plan."

Belmont went on attack first in the fifth minute as sophomore Erica Carter (Spring, Texas) broke down Auburn's defense until she was one-on-one with goalie Allison Whitworth. Whitworth was forced to make a sliding save off of her line, preventing Carter to score her third goal of the season.

Belmont (13-7-3) held Auburn (12-8-2) scoreless until the 23 minute, when Kara Kasten scored her 12th goal of the season to put Auburn up, 1-0. Kasten dribbled past Belmont's defense and forced goalkeeper and A-Sun Tournament MVP, Lin Sari (Carefree, Ariz.), to charge the ball as Kasten eased it near the post to score what turned out to be the game-winning goal.

Sari showed why she was picked the Tournament MVP as she made diving save in the 30th minute to keep Auburn at bay with a one goal advantage. Sari finished with nine saves; the most saves since recording 10 at Kennesaw State on Oct. 10.

Belmont went into the break with confidence, only down one to the co-SEC West Champions. In the second period Auburn kept putting pressure on the Bruins by taking 12 of their 20 total shots in the second stanza. The Tigers' aggressive offense paid off when Jenni Prescott slipped in her seventh career goal to give Auburn a 2-0 advantage in the 70th minute.

In the waning minutes of the game, Belmont had one of their best opportunities of the night to score when a corner kick from senior Anna Walsh (Ft. Wright, Ky.) set up a header shot from Charlotte Blake (Miami, Fla.) that just missed the top of the goal.

Auburn closed the game with a 2-0 victory and will play Florida State on Sunday for a chance to be one of 16 teams remaining in the quest for the College Cup. Florida State defeated Mississippi Valley State in the early game by a score of 7-0.

Belmont will return to Nashville with their heads high, knowing their accomplishments in 2008 set the bar for the future the of Belmont women's soccer. The Bruins will graduate just three seniors and will return nine of 11 starters for the 2009 season.

"This group of players just needs more time to work together," Coach Howe said. "Having this kind of experience under our belt is going to help a lot. We can come back improved and better next year."

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