In every sport there is that one singular achievement that is difficult to attain, but when it is achieved, it can be highly rewarding for the athlete. In baseball, it is the perfect game; in basketball, the triple double. In soccer, it’s the ever-illusive hat trick.
On Sept. 13, Loyola’s own Brian Bement captured his first-ever hat trick of his collegiate career, accomplished by scoring three times in one game. Up until the matchup against Eastern Illinois University, the junior had struggled, not scoring a goal since his freshman year.
Starting off in the 19th minute, Bement received a well-placed cross from teammate Erick Nock, which gave him his first goal of the season.
“As soon as I got the first one in that game I just had a feeling I was at least getting one more,” Bement said. “It was just one of those games.”
A mere 44 seconds later, Bement capitalized on a missed shot by Nock, netting his second goal of the game off of a rebound.
“I just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Bement added. “I think it was Nock again hitting the crossbar, and I just put in the rebound.”
The final goal completing his hat trick came late, with only seven minutes left in the game. On this particular opportunity, Bement followed up on his own missed shot, earning Loyola’s first hat trick since 2010.
“The third one I had … I just shot it and the goalie saved it and I just followed it up,” Bement said. “I was basically in the right place at the right time and I was finally able to finish.”
For Bement, this game was a major step in the right direction.
“I hadn’t been finishing [my shots] and I was kind of getting frustrated,” he said. During the beginning of the year, while Bement had the opportunities, he had trouble capitalizing on those chances. Ultimately, despite his struggles this year and last season, staying positive is the key, Bement said.
“[You’ve] just got to be confident in practice, and in previous games I know that I’ve been able to finish,” Bement said. “I know that if I keep shooting, keep making my run or keep finding someone open that [I’m] eventually going to score.”
Bement has big aspirations for the team this year and moving forward.
“I definitely want us to have a winning record and to have our conference both in regular season play and in conference play,” Bement said.
In order to do that, Bement added, the team “just needs to keep working. Some teams may be more talented, but if you outwork them there’s no reason you can’t win.”
For the time being, Bement will take any wins game by game.
“We’re getting small victories hoping that in the long run we’ll get bigger victories and win a lot more games in the conference,” Bement said.
In terms of personal goals, Bement is setting his goals high for the rest of the season.
“I set a goal personally every year … to be the leading scorer of our conference and to be All-American,” Bement said. “Obviously, I set my goals high. Will I get there? I don’t know, we’ll find out, but [I’ve] got to at least try.”
So far this season Bement has been fairly successful in achieving one of his
goals. Bement is currently tied with Nock for the most the goals on Loyola’s team, notching four thus far.
As a junior, Bement said he also felt as though he has more of a leadership role, especially for the young freshmen starting their collegiate careers.
“With this being my third year, I feel like I have to be a bit of a leader or motivational person for our young guys,” Bement said. “I try to just work as hard as I can to basically set the standard for everyone else.”
Bement and Loyola continue the campaign on Oct. 16 at Denver University. Missouri Valley Conference play continues for the Ramblers on Oct. 19 when the team travels to Peoria, Ill. to take on the Bradley University Braves.