BRIDGEWATER, Va. - Led by the play of junior keeper Kevin Morris, the Bridgewater College defense turned in a strong effort Wednesday afternoon and shut out Virginia Wesleyan College 1-0 in a key ODAC matchup. The shutout marked the first time the season the Marlins failed to score in a game.
The first nine minutes of the contest were played in the midfield as both teams probed for a way to penetrate the defense.
Virginia Wesleyan's Brian Cornell took the first shot of the game at the 9:22 mark, but his long shot was easily saved by Morris.
The Eagles made their first shot of the game count as it turned out to be the only goal of the contest. Bridgewater's Ethan McBryde possessed the ball near midfield and carried the ball past a defender to the top of the circle where he beat the Marlins' keeper with a shot to the far post, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
The Marlins had two solid looks at goal in the first half, but each time Morris was up to the task.
At the 31:33 mark, the Marlins had a direct kick from just outside of the box. Chris Luce got the shot past the defensive wall, but Morris made a diving stop to keep the Marlins scoreless.
Two minutes later the Marlins Josh Richardson took a high pass into the box and headed the ball toward goal, but Morris was once again in position for the save,
The Eagles came out of the halftime break and immediately put pressure on the Marlins defense. Bridgewater's Derek Newsome booted a long pass from the Eagles defense end for forward Ben Lewis. Lewis ran past the defender for a one-on-one with the Marlins keeper, but Lewis' shot sailed wide of the mark.
The Marlins had two big opportunities to tie the score down the stretch.
The first came at the 64:13 mark when Virginia's Wesleyan' Travis Walke had back-to-back shots from inside the box. Walke's first attempt was blocked by a defender, but he gathered up the rebound and put another shot on goal. Morris made a leaping save as he punched the ball over the goal to end the threat.
The Marlins threatened again in the 68th minute when a foul against the Eagles gave the visitors a free kick from 25 yards. Josh Kemp's kick hit the crossbar and bounced back into play. The Eagles were able to clear the ball out of their defensive end to preserve the 1-0 lead.
The Marlins held a 14-6 edge in shots and the Eagles had a 4-2 advantage in corner kicks.
Morris finished the contest with seven saves.
The Eagles improved to 5-3-2 overall and 2-0-1 in the ODAC. The Marlins dropped to 6-4, 2-2 in conference play .Bridgewater is back in action Saturday when the Eagles travel to Randolph-Macon for a noon start.