Coming off of a thrilling 2–1 victory against America East rival Stony Brook University, the Boston University men’s soccer team faced another America East opponent in the University of Vermont. Entering the game, the Catamounts were a half-game ahead of BU in the conference standings, sitting at a record of 5–4–3.
The game had the potential to keep the momentum swinging the Terriers’ (4–5–4, 1–0–2 America East) way, especially as the team had won two games in a row coming in. However, BU saw their chance to take the best record in the America East slip away as the game ended in a 0–0 draw, with BU making a plethora of errors throughout the game.
It was evident at the outset that the Terriers would have a rough go of it, especially on the offensive side of the ball. BU moved the ball to senior back Max White for an open chance, but the ball was blocked. The play seemed to symbolize the rest of the game for BU and it was noted by BU coach Neil Roberts.
“The ball goes back to our backs. Max [White] just stands on the ball, and then it just gets blocked,” Roberts said. “That was an indication right there that we weren’t playing our game.”
Vermont attempted to jump on the board first in the fourth minute, but its shot attempt was high of the goal and sophomore goalie Nick Thomson. About 12 minutes later, Thomson came out of the box to play the ball and touched the ball with his hands, drawing a yellow card. This also gave Vermont a free kick just outside the box that was blocked by the BU defense.
Although BU did not have too many great opportunities to score throughout the contest, in the 19th through 21st minutes, the Terriers had a few chances to break the tie. Junior midfielder Anthony Ciccone dribbled the ball deep into the box in the 19th minute and made a couple of fancy moves to get around a few defenders, but was eventually displaced from the ball by a Vermont defender. In the 21st minute, the Vermont defense mishandled a cross by BU junior midfielder Vicente Colmenares and sophomore forward Dominique Badji leaped up and headed the ball just high over the goal.
Throughout the season the Terriers have been most successful when the ball has been moved around quickly by the midfielders on the wings, which help set up quick passing plays.
“You have to play the ball quickly. You have to move the ball. That opens up the field so guys can play one on one. It just didn’t happen tonight,” Roberts said.
The start of the second half seemed to repeat the ways of the first half, as the Terriers looked slow out of the gate again and the Catamounts controlled the ball early. Although Vermont did have some good chances to score, the Terrier defense and goaltending were up to the challenge.
Sophomore defender Sanford Spivey returned from an injury and led the BU defense with a strong, physical performance.
“Spivey’s an emotional player,” Roberts said. “He’s a tough kid. We’re probably asking him to do too much.”
Not only did Spivey step up in the second half, but sophomore goalie Nick Thomson made critical saves down the stretch to keep the score deadlocked. Thomson made a great jumping save in the 47th minute and made a very similar save, but reached even higher to save a shot off of a free kick in the 65th minute of the game.
Although the defense had a strong performance in the second half, the offense again sputtered and BU could not put a tally across. Throughout the second half the Terriers went offsides four times. BU’s best chances of the game came in the 70th and 73rd minutes of the game. In the 70th minute Anthony Ciccone set up an accurate cross into the box for freshman forward Carlos Ruiz, who headed the ball right into the Vermont goalkeeper. In the 73rd minute, Badji fed senior midfielder Michael Bustamante for a header, but the attempt went right to the keeper.
Although neither team could push anything across the scoreboard in regulation, a key event occurred in the 87th minute, which helped dictate the flow of overtime. White drew his second yellow card of the game, which meant he earned a red card left the Terriers with 10 players on the field.
With 10 men on the field in overtime, it was even tougher for BU to find any sync on offense. The Terriers had very little in the way of chances throughout the overtime periods and trudged through both overtime periods without a goal. Vermont controlled the ball for most of the overtime, but BU’s defense stopped any good chances.
“We weren’t really emotional. We weren’t really playing the ball quickly,” Roberts said. “Today we weren’t there mentally at times. It’s just disappointing.”