Lenoir-Rhyne midfielder Leon Mueller-Wiesen scored the only goal of the match on a 12th minute penalty, and the Bears held off a furious offensive burst by Belmont Abbey in the final 45 minutes to secure a 1-0 win in the 2015 season opener for both teams.
Belmont Abbey outshot the Bears 13-11, including 8-5 in the second half as the Crusaders had four opportunities in the second half to level the score.
The Bears went ahead 1-0 at the 11:24 mark as Mueller-Wiesen beat Luke Whelan to the left corner from the penalty spot. The kick was awarded after Bears player was pulled down ten yards from the face of goal. The Bears outshot the Crusaders 6-5 in the half and attempted four corner kicks to three for the Crusaders.
Belmont Abbey increased the pressure immediately in the second half, as it had four chances to get level.
The first chance came in the 47th minute as Nick Fuller's shot from the right box sailed just inches left of the post. Another chance came three minutes later. Off of a free kick, Clay Dimick took a give and go and fired a shot from the right side of the box that landed on the outside the the net.
The best scoring chance came with 38 minutes left. Fuller was pulled down in the box and a penalty kick was awarded. Dimick made the attempt, but his effort hit the lower left post and bounced immediately over the goal line for a Bears free kick.
That was all of the scoring chances until the 72nd minute when the guests had its best chance to double the lead, but Nick Sibert's shot sailed no more than two feet to the right of the post.
1:45 later, the Crusaders had their final chance of the night as attempts from Declan McQuillan and Dimicl-both with goalkeeper Benjamin Lundt off his line-were stalled by the Bears defense.
Belmont Abbey won the corner kick edge 6-5. Both Whelan and Lundt made two saves.
The Crusaders are back in action Saturday afternoon at 4:00 when welcoming Newberry.