In their first three games this season, senior midfielder Anthony Ciccone has led the Boston University men’s soccer team. Ciccone, who controls the left side of the offense with his slick ball handling, has assisted three of the six Terrier goals through the first four games. However, Saturday evening against Monmouth University at Nickerson Field, three new faces made big contributions in a 3-0 win.
The Terriers’ (2-2) win over the Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason favorite Hawks (1-3-1) was led by three first-time goal scorers: Freshman forward Felix De Bona, sophomore defender Jeroen Blugh and sophomore forward Lucas McBride.
BU coach Neil Roberts said was extremely pleased with the scoring output from the three underclassmen.
“It’s three young guys that have been working hard,” Roberts said. “It’s a good sign for us. Everyone played hard and everyone worked hard collectively. They got themselves in the position [to score].”
Coming into BU’s matchup against the Hawks, senior forward Ali Sozeri, junior forward Dominique Badji and sophomore forward Mac McGuire were the only three players on the Terriers who had scored in the early season. But that changed as De Bona, a native of Somerville, scored the first goal in the 27th minute when he danced around Monmouth goalie Stephen Graziani and tapped in the ball in for the score. Junior forward Jordan Barker assisted on the goal.
“You saw what Felix was capable of,” Roberts said. “He was very composed when he stripped the ball and went around the goalkeeper, so that was a good sign for us.”
The underclassmen for the Terriers did not stop there. On a corner kick in the 63rd minute, Ciccone curved the ball into the Monmouth box, which was then redirected by Blugh into the net just past the outstretched arms of Graziani. For Blugh, it was his first career goal with the Terriers. Last season Blugh looked to be a regular contributor on the defense, but his season was cut short when he injured his knee in a game against Brown University.
The textbook play has been something the Terriers have been working on in practice, according to Roberts.
“To score on a set play — things you practice all the time — it’s good,” Roberts said. “Jeroen’s parents are here from Trinidad, so that makes him happy and his parents real happy.
“You have a bunch of options working off of [the corner kick]. We didn’t think that we could get in there because [Monmouth’s] got those two center backs that are extremely good.”
McBride’s goal came in the 88th minute when he spun around Monmouth defender Matt Jeffrey and slotted the ball in just past the diving Graziani. In just ten minutes of play, McBride caused havoc with two shots on goal, his score coming with assistance from Ciccone and McGuire.
“Lucas can play,” Roberts said of the Rye Brook, N.Y., native. “We’ve just got to refine some things in his game, which he’s willing to do, and he can score goals. He’s a goalscorer.”
The Hawks had only one shot on goal the entire game, compared the Terriers’ four. Despite being edged in corner kicks and overall shots, the Terriers, thanks to the young core of players, made the most of every chance they received and extended their first winning streak to two games.
“They’re new players,” Roberts said. “With Felix, we’re trying to get him into shape, and trying to take him slowly. He’s a real gifted player, so you’re going to see a lot of him in the future. We’re just being really slow with him, and I think within a couple of games, you’re going to see a special kid. The young guys are coming in and doing a good job. The veterans are helping them, so it’s pretty good.”