The Boston University men’s soccer team has now notched two wins from two games in the first half of a four-game homestand. On Saturday night, the Terriers were victorious over Monmouth University by a score of 3-0.
“I’m happy for the guys, they worked really hard,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “They are very good at making adjustments. We switched from a 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2 in the middle of the game. We went over it today and we got a goal off of it.”
For the first 26 minutes of the contest, neither the Terriers (2-2-0) nor the Hawks (1-3-1) had a great opportunity to score, as it appeared both teams were looking for a weak spot in the other’s defense. Redshirt freshman goalie Matt Gilbert, who did not start last game against Hoftsra University while serving a red card suspension, was mostly untested in the first half.
In the 27th minute, though, the Terriers broke through. After a goal kick from Monmouth goalie Stephen Graziani, freshman midfielder David Asbjornsson won the ball with a header near midfield and got it to junior forward Dominque Badji, who proceeded to head the ball to junior midfielder Jordan Barker. Barker fed the ball through to freshman forward Felix De Bona, who had just checked into the game. De Bona weaved around a diving Graziani and walked the ball into the open net. The goal was his first at the collegiate level.
“Both teams had possession, but not with any type of purpose,” Roberts said. “I think each team was trying to feel each other out. You saw what Felix is capable of. That’s a good sign for us.”
After the goal, Monmouth put a bit of pressure on the Terriers, looking to tie up the score. In the 29th minute midfielder Derek Luke earned a corner for the Hawks. The Terrier defense was up for the challenge and cleared the danger.
Forward Francois Navarro took two corners for Monmouth in the 30th and 32nd minutes, but neither kick led to any scoring chance for the Hawks.
Despite Monmouth making a few changes — including three substitutions — toward the end of they were unable to tie the game up. BU finished the half leading on the scoreboard 1-0 and in shots on goal 2-0.
To open up the second half of play, the Hawks came out with an aggressive offense, and looked to maximize their opportunities. Luke looked to knot up the scoring with a chance in the 51st minute, but his shot was blocked by a stout Terrier defense.
Four minutes later, midfielder Tomas Penfold took the Hawks’ first shot on goal of the game on a free kick to the left of the box, but Gilbert made the save after one bounce.
In the 57th minute, the Hawks had their best opportunity of the night when senior midfielder Fannar Arnarsson committed a yellow card foul just outside of the Terrier goal box. Midfielder Joseph Schmid took the free kick for Monmouth, but a wall of BU defenders blocked it.
“Collectively, we did well [defensively],” Roberts said. “The back four are starting to come together. They are really starting to feel comfortable in their positions.”
While the Terrier defense remained composed, not allowing too many Monmouth chances, the BU offense was able to pad its lead.
In the 63rd minute, the Terriers earned their first corner of the contest, which they converted to put their second goal into the back of the net.
Senior midfielder Anthony Ciccone took the corner and lofted it into the box, and sophomore defender Jeroen Blugh leaped high over the Monmouth defense and flicked a header past the leaping Graziani. The goal was also Blugh’s first with the Terriers.
Down 2-0, the Hawks attempted to break down the BU defense, but had trouble finishing. Every shot for Monmouth either missed the net entirely or was blocked by a strong BU defense.
In the 88th minute, the Terriers put the icing on the cake with their third goal of the game. Sophomore forward Lucas McBride became the third Terrier to score his first collegiate goal during the contest.
McBride took a pass from sophomore forward Mac McGuire on the right side of the box. McBride settled with his right foot, switched the ball to his left and put the ball into the low left corner of the goal as Graziani lay motionless on the ground.
The goal was the final chance for either side, as the Terriers closed out a dominating 3-0 victory.
“Everybody played well, collectively,” Roberts said. “Everyone was getting themselves in good position. They can take information and put it into practice. That’s the sign of a team that wants to win.”