After falling to Hofstra University on Saturday, the Boston University men’s soccer team had a slightly better result in its first conference game of the year as it tied the University of Hartford 1–1 at Nickerson Field.
BU coach Neil Roberts emphasized a strong start to the game, and The Terriers (2–5–3, 0–0–1 America East) appeared to get the message and tried to jump on the board quickly.
In the second minute BU charged on the attack and had a corner kick from junior midfielder Anthony Ciccone. While nothing came out of that early chance, BU did not have to wait much longer for another chance. Only three minutes later, sophomore forward Parker Powell, but his attempt was blocked by the Hartford defense.
Ciccone and senior midfielder Michael Bustamante displayed energy that the Terriers needed to have a consistent offense throughout the game. Ciccone worked the left side for most of the game while Bustamante attacked the net a lot. Roberts praised the two midfielders for their great play.
“I think Anthony and Michael just dominated the game,” Roberts said. “It was the first time [Bustamante] played well. It was the first time he dominated like that.”
Between the 22nd and 26th minutes of the game, the Terriers put on the offensive pressure again. Bustamante headed a cross wide before sophomore forward Dominque Badji failed to convert on a pair of chances. Later in that surge Ciccone took a long shot, but it was saved by Hartford (6–4–1, 0–0–1 America East) goalkeeper Viltsu Tummi. The Terriers seemed to dominate the flow and control of the game, but were unable capitalize on their chances.
Although BU had control of the ball for most of the first half, freshman goalkeeper Nick Thomson did not go completely untested. Thomson made two saves, one in the 19th minute on a close shot on the left by junior forward Anthony Santaga.
While BU failed to score on its chances in the first half, Hartford did not miss on its best chance of the half. In the 39th minute, Santaga tapped in a goal after a free kick near midfield, which looked eerily similar to the goal BU gave up in its overtime loss to Brown University.
“It was a shame,” Roberts said about the goal. “It was just miscommunication.” The Terriers, who outshot the Hawks 10–6 and dominated the flow of the game early on, trailed 1–0 at the end of the first half.Again in the second half the Terriers came out as the aggressors and attacked from the get-go. Eventually, the control and aggression paid off for the Terriers when Bustamante scored in the 61st minute in the box thanks to a feed from Badji.
With a little less than ten minutes to play, Ciccone was brought down on a foul, and then appeared to be stepped on by a Hartford player. Ciccone was visibly angry after the incident and seemed to play even more intense than he had been playing beforehand.
He led a couple of great chances for the offense, especially in the 84th minute when he hit the Hartford cross-bar. BU kept the pressure on, but could not find the back of the net and the game went into overtime.
Early on it was clear BU couldn’t find a rhythm in part due to another injury. Sophomore back Sanford Spivey went down with an injury early on, and had to be replaced. Both teams battled around midfield for the first half of overtime, and nothing happened on the scoreboard. BU played conservatively again in the second half, although in the 102nd minute Hartford stopped a bevy of chances in the box. Once the 110th minute was up, the game had ended in a draw.
“The result was unjust.” Roberts said. “But that’s the way the game goes. You have to finish.”