The Boston University men’s soccer team broke out of an offensive slump with a 2-1 win over Hofstra University on a humid Wednesday evening at Nickerson Field.
The two goals that the Terriers (1-2) scored doubled their previous scoring output on the season, as the team has only managed one goal over its first two games of the year.
The Pride (1-2-1) came out of the gates guns blazing with a corner kick and a shot by midfielder Reece Alexander in the second minute. Hofstra’s aggressive attack paid off in the eighth minute with a goal from midfielder Elliot Firth off of a deflection.
“We knew that they were dangerous,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “We obviously didn’t like conceding the first goal, because they are a team that plays on emotion.
“They’ve got guys that can finish, so giving up the first goal was obviously not what we had in our plan. I think we responded well, we fought back and in the second half — after they scored and maybe fifteen minutes into the half — we took it over.”
After giving up the goal, the Terriers turned their energy up and displayed offensive production and possession not displayed so far this season. Junior forward Dominique Badji scored BU’s first goal on a penalty kick in the 30th minute, a play where Hofstra goalie Roberto Pelligrini stood and watched the ball idly go by.
Following the goal from Badji, freshman midfielder David Asbjornsson put a header shot on goal set up by senior midfielder Anthony Ciccone that Pellegrini saved in the 34th minute. Freshman forward Felix De Bona put a shot wide on goal in the 35th minute.
Ciccone led the offense with his sharp handling of the ball and skilled passing, ending the night with two shots on goal and one assist in 83 minutes of play. The Sparta, N.J., native played a key role in the offense’s success by creating multiple corner kicks and setting up numerous shots on goal.
The Terriers offensive output was highlighted by a goal in the 39th minute from sophomore forward Mac MacGuire, who was set up by a picturesque pass from Ciccone that rainbowed over the Hofstra defense.
“It came off our corner,” Ciccone said. “We got it back and I knew that if I crossed it in early, someone would be back post and Mac [MacGuire] made a good run and finished.”
“That’s what Anthony does,” Roberts said. “Anthony is coming off surgery so he’s probably about 80 percent right now. We’re trying to get him closer to 90 and, as the season goes on, he’ll get better. That’s what Anthony does.
“He’s a little frustrated because he usually has an easier time getting by these guys and he’s getting caught because he’s not as quick right now as he was last year, but he will be in time.”
Hofstra locked down on defense in the second half, allowing zero shots on target after the Terriers had seven shots on goal in the first half.
Junior goalie Nick Thomson came up with a big save, one of his six on the night, in the 86th minute when he stopped a shot by Hofstra freshman Kyle Poetzsch. Thomson, who has dealt with undisclosed injuries this season, made his first start of the year after redshirt freshman Matt Gilbert started the first two games of the season.
“We’ve got Matt [Gilbert] playing well, we’ve got Nick coming back,” Roberts said. “Nick was a little bit rusty. He showed it a couple of times, but we got a real good problem to have. They can fight it out in training and so forth and I don’t think Nick, like [Ciccone], is near where he is capable of.
“We saw it a couple of times on that direct kick. He didn’t get enough jump and it ended up a corner kick instead of him catching it. He’s not quite there yet.”
For the Terriers, it was a sigh of relief to get their first win of the young season.
“It feels great,” Ciccone said. “[Three] games into the season, getting our first win. It was such a team effort. It was hot and humid, but all the guys rallied. It was a good win.”