The Boston University men’s soccer team wrapped up its 2012 season Saturday with a difficult 1–0 loss in overtime to the University of New Hampshire.
“You know, it was a struggle from the very beginning,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “Obviously I’m not happy with our record, but I am very happy with the way the kids competed and dealt with the adversity.”
Six of the Terriers’ first seven games were against ranked teams including then-No. 1 University of North Carolina and then-No. 3 University of Connecticut. In the difficult stretch, BU defeated rival then-No. 11 Boston College on Aug. 27 1–0 on a goal from junior midfielder Derek McCaffery.
Though they suffered four losses in the stretch, Roberts said he was happy with the Terriers’ determination.
“BC was the only team we had our whole team for and we showed we can compete with those teams,” Roberts said. “We can compete with Connecticut, we can compete with North Carolina, but then we just keep losing bodies and that makes it difficult. Any kid, any athlete with merit wants to compete against the best.”
The injuries were frequent and devastating for BU, especially on defense.
The first blow was a significant one as reigning America East Defender of the Year junior Kelvin Madzongwe went down early against Wake Forest University on Aug. 31. Madzongwe was later diagnosed with a torn ACL and forced to sit for the remainder of the season.
Freshman defender Jeroen Blugh, in his first home game as a collegiate athlete, went down with a torn ACL. Blugh’s lost the rest of his freshman campaign. Both defenseman underwent surgery during the season and will be ready for next year.
“It’s a very difficult rehab, but they are both mentally ready for it and they should be 100 percent in August,” Roberts said.
After struggling early in the year, the Terrier offense found a rhythm on Sept. 18 against The College of the Holy Cross. Against the Crusaders, BU put up four goals including two goals from redshirt freshman forward Mac McGuire and another for senior forward Michael Bustamante. The two goals were the first of McGuire’s collegiate career while Bustamante’s goal was his first in over a year as he sat out all of the 2011 season due to injury.
With the Terriers moving to the Patriot League next year, BU opened its final season of America East conference play on Sept. 29 at home against the University of Hartford. Though the game ended in a 1–1 tie, BU outshot the Hawks 35–11. Bustamante netted the lone goal in the game while also recording a career-high 11 shots.
After taking care of Adelphi University, BU visited Stony Brook University for a difficult match against the defending America East Champions. Coming into the game, Stony Brook was the top team in America East and was playing strong soccer. BU was not intimidated. The Terriers defeated Stony Brook on an overtime goal from sophomore forward Dominique Badji and headed home to play an equally difficult match against the University of Vermont.
Neither the Catamounts nor the Terriers could score, and the game ended in a 0–0 tie.
BU hit a significant roadblock on Oct. 13 when it visited University of Maryland-Baltimore County and suffered a humiliating 5–1 loss.
Disappointed with its performance in Baltimore, BU practiced hard for the next few days and was ready to take on a Harvard University team that entered the game with only one win on the season. The Terriers appeared to dominate the entire game, but with only a few minutes left in the second overtime, the Crimson got one chance, and made the most of it, scoring and ending the contest.
Though their chances of making the tournament were slim to none, the Terriers continued to play hard in their final games. They shut out both Binghamton University and Albany University in their final home games before suffering a loss to UNH in overtime to end the season.
“Unfortunately, we just kept losing quality players this year,” Roberts said. “Having said that, I couldn’t be happier with the kids that were left standing and how they competed right up until the end in the New Hampshire game.
“The last few games they knew they weren’t going to make the tournament, they knew they couldn’t play in the conference tournament, but they still went out and fought hard every game, won games and that was enjoyable to watch.”