The Boston University men’s soccer team took on Boston College in the first game of the “Terrier Tailgate” Friday evening. Despite taking an early lead, the Terriers fell to rival BC in their first game of the year by a score of 2-1.
“For a first game it was obviously competitive,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “We did well at times and we were under pressure at times. I think it was pretty much a back-and-forth game. For the first day out against a good team I thought it was okay.”
Both teams traded opportunities in the opening minutes, with the Eagles (1-0) getting the initial chances and testing redshirt freshman goalie Matt Gilbert. In the third minute, Eagle forward Cole DeNormandie took a shot but it was stopped by Gilbert for his first collegiate save. In the 11th minute, defender Matt Wendelken got another scoring opportunity for the Eagles, but it was wide of Gilbert.
The Terriers (0-1) got their first shot 11 minutes in when freshman forward David Asbjornsson got a header shot off, but that went wide of the net. Not long after, Gilbert got a deep pass off into the Eagles’ box, senior forward Ali Sozeri connected for his first goal of the season and the Terriers jumped on the board for a 1-0 lead.
BU almost doubled its lead in the 19th and 20th minutes with shots from junior forward Dominque Badji and junior midfielder Cameron Souri. However, both shots went wide, and the Terriers still clung on to a 1-0 advantage.
For the rest of the first half the Terriers played solid defense, and held BC to one shot by midfielder Giulano Frano, but it was stopped by Gilbert.
While the Eagles remained mostly quiet for the rest of the first half, the Terriers had two more chances to add to their lead, but BC goalie Keady Segel stopped both to keep the score 1-0 heading to the half.
While the Terriers looked to sustain momentum into the second half, the Eagles took six shots in the first few minutes of the period, attempting to tie up the score. In the 47th minute, BC tied up the game on a header goal by defender Chris Ager, taking away all of BU’s momentum. The Eagles then rallied for five more shots, but could not capitalize on their flurry of chances.
Two of those five chances were stopped by Gilbert, who looked impressive in his first start in goal.
“Gilbert did well, he did well in the preseason,” Roberts said. “He made some big saves, and he’s a young kid. It was his first start and he did well.”
Gilbert went on to make a few crucial saves for the Terriers, including a big stop in the 84th minute, keeping it a 1-1 game.
While the BU offense was strong in the first half of play, it did not muster many chances in the second half, recording only five shots. In the 73rd minute, Sozeri’s bid for a second goal went just wide of the net, leaving arguably the Terrier’s best offensive chance in the half fruitless.
Senior midfielder Anthony Ciccone received two corner kicks in the 85th and 86th minute, looking to get that clinching goal for the Terriers. Both chances led to nothing, and the game headed to overtime.
In overtime, both teams were visibly tired. Badji got the only shot for BU in the 99th minute but it went wide of Segel.
In the 100th minute BC finally broke the tie, and scored the goal to clinch a victory in overtime. Ager scored his second of the game after BU had trouble defending a corner kick.
“I liked the effort and composure of the guys,” Roberts said. “We fought hard, that’s a good sign. What we’ll take away also is we ran ourselves out of the game by not being able to possess the ball. We have to be better with the ball. That’s going to be a key for us.”