by Benny Benton
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College women's soccer team dropped out of a second-place tie in Conference Carolinas on Wednesday after suffering a 4-1 home loss to Belmont Abbey College.
The Crusaders (7-2-1, 4-1) grabbed the lead just under 11 minutes into the contest when sophomore Tallee Zamiela put away a through ball from freshman Sydney Pluhacek, beating Barton starting keeper Haley Sauls in a one-on-one opportunity.
Belmont Abbey largely sealed its fifth straight victory with two more goals in a three-minute span starting in the 31st minute. Freshman Kat Laughlin collected her first collegiate goal on a shot from the left wing into the far right post, and junior Cassie Manion followed 2:37 later with a rebound goal after her first attempt was blocked by a Barton defender.
Barton (4-5, 3-2) finally got on the board in the 54th minute when freshman Katie Christiansen played a through ball from the left wing to the top of the box, where freshman Brianna Boyd beat BAC reserve keeper Kat Andrews with a shot inside the left post.
However, the Crusaders pushed their margin back to three goals 10 minutes later when senior Cierra Skyers produced her team-high fifth goal of the year off a cross from Katelyn Richard.
Belmont Abbey enjoyed a 21-4 edge in total shots, including a 14-3 margin in shots on goal. Sauls (3-2) had four saves for Barton in the first half, and freshman Megan Bolick grabbed six saves while working the second half in net. Starting keeper Kaitlyn Paul (7-2-1) and Andrews had two combined saves for the Crusaders.
BC, which has now lost consecutive games to teams at the top of the league standings, will attempt to get back in the win column on Saturday when it visits Franklin Springs, Ga., for a 2 p.m. match with Emmanuel College.