The Boston University men’s soccer team will look to shake off its loss against Providence College last Friday as it faces Harvard University Wednesday night in Allston.
The Terriers (3-3-0) looked absolutely drained Friday, as they were beat to almost every ball and could not find their offense. But with this four-day layoff, the Terriers will hopefully by recharged and ready to kick off their four-game road trip with what will hopefully be their fourth win in five games.
The Terriers have beaten the Crimson (1-4-1) in two of their last three confrontations, but Harvard leads the all-time series 24-14-6. In their last showdown, BU dominated the stat line, finishing with a 27-8 advantage in shots and a 16-1 advantage in corner kicks. While it seemed as if the Terriers were in control for most of the game, the Crimson ended up coming out on top with a golden goal in overtime to propel them to a 2-1 win.
Junior forward Dominique Badji was a central force in that game, finishing with nine shots, five on target and one goal. He looks to resume that role again, as he is coming off a game in which he led the team in shots (three) and looked sharp for a BU team that was simply overmatched by Providence (5-0-2). He is also one of six Terriers to tally a goal this year.
BU has by no means been an offensive powerhouse this season — it is dead last in shots in the Patriot League, averaging just under 11 per game. It is also sixth in both total goals (seven) and goals per game (1.17). However, the Terriers have had their bright spots on offense this year, notably freshman forward Felix De Bona, who leads the pack with two goals. He is tied for ninth in the Patriot League in goals and tied for third in game-winning goals.
Senior midfielder and captain Anthony Ciccone has also been performing well, as he has notched a team-high four assists on the year, putting him first in the Patriot League in assists per game and tied for first in total assists.
“Anthony’s been doing fine,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “He’s a good leader, he’s a good player, he works so hard, and the good thing about him is that he knows he’s not nearly where he’s capable of playing yet. I think within the next two weeks, you’re going to see Anthony really play well.”
Defensively, BU is missing its 2011 American East Defender of the Year in redshirt junior defender Kelvin Madzongwe, who has been out the last three games due to injury. In spite of this loss, the Terriers are averaging just less than one goal allowed per game.
This strong defensive show is due in large part to redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matt Gilbert, who is tied for first in the Patriot League in saves per game (4.80) and is ranked third in save percentage (.828). He already has registered two clean sheets this season, including a shutout of the defending Colonial Athletic Association champion Northeastern University last week.
Harvard comes in under the direction of new coach Pieter Lehrer. The Crimson started off the season sinking fast with three straight losses to Iona College, Davidson College, and Providence.
However, Harvard has picked up its play in its last three contests, going 1-1-1. The Crimson tied 0-0 against Lafayette College, lost to the University of Hartford 3-2 in overtime and picked up their first win of the season against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in their last outing, winning 2-1.
Overall, Harvard has been outscored 12-6 on the season, but will look to build on its win and prolong its winning streak against the Terriers Wednesday.
Six different players have registered a goal for the Crimson. Senior Ross Friedman leads the team in assists with three on the year. Goalkeeper Brett Conrad started the first five games for the Crimson and posted a rough 2.06 goals-against average. Harvard made the change to goalie Evan Mendez last game and he picked up the win, registering two saves.
While Harvard has had an up-and-down season so far, Roberts said that the Crimson should prove to be a worthy opponent for the Terriers.
“They’re starting to get it together now,” Roberts said. “They scored four goals in the last two games and I think that they’re starting to play much better now. They’ve got a new coach and they’re trying new things … they are pretty good defensively … we’ll see what happens.”