Bell’s hat trick not enough for Braves at Belmont Abbey

Sep. 20—BELMONT — Mercy Bell’s second hat trick of the season was not enough for UNC Pembroke to overcome four Belmont Abbey goals Tuesday night. Bell tallied her third goal in the 89th minute, but the Braves couldn’t find the equalizer in the final minute.

Anna Grossheim, Eugenie Amidou, Bea Vazquez, and Abigail Lowry all recorded assists for the Black & Gold.

The Braves (3-3-0, 2-1-0 CC) fell to 6-2-0 in the all-time series against the Crusaders (3-1-2, 1-0-1 CC), stopping a three-match winning streak over the hosts in the process.

Grossheim played a beautiful ball onto Bell, who dribbled in and fired a perfect strike past the diving goalkeeper to start the scoring in the 18th minute.

A Belmont Abbey corner kick rattled around in front of the net, before the Crusaders’ Reagan Cullen eventually snuck it through a crowd and into the back of the net to even the score in the 37th minute, 1-1.

A Gabriela Enciso corner kick for the Crusaders found the head of Logan Parry, who redirected it into the goal to take back the lead at 2-1 just before halftime.

In the 49th minute, Belmont Abbey’s Haley Long took control of a ball into the box, then spun and placed a perfect shot to find the back of the net, making it 3-1.

Sabrina Cunha brought down a ball inside the box, split two Braves defenders, and fired a shot that snuck past and into the net to take Belmont Abbey’s lead to 4-1 in the 59th minute.

The Braves answered a minute later, as Amidou found Vazquez, who then found a wide open Bell who put it away with her left foot to cut into the deficit.

Lowry played a perfect ball to Bell, who dribbled into the box and found the back of the net to make it 4-3 in the 89th minute.

Bell tallied eight shots and four on goal, both match-highs. Lowry and Grossheim recorded four shots apiece. Amidou tallied her first point of the season with her assist.

The Braves allowed 23 Belmont Abbey shots, the most given up by UNCP since allowing 26 to Columbus State on October 4, 2018.

UNCP will return home Saturday, September 23 to take on conference foe Mount Olive for Braves to Braves Day. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Lumbee River EMC Stadium.

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