In its first ever Patriot League game, the Boston University men’s soccer team took on the U.S. Naval Academy Saturdaynight. Despite recording 18 shots during the match, the Terriers succumbed to Navy by a 1-0 margin.
“It was a difficult game,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “Navy played extremely well, but I thought we played pretty well too and we had our chances in the first 20 to 25 minutes.”
The Midshipmen (4-3-2, 1-0 Patriot League) brought in the second-ranked Patriot League offense into the game, having scored eight goals in their first 12 contests. The attack was on display in the early minutes, as Navy recorded its first shot on goal just two minutes into the contest.
Forward Jamie Dubyoski was able to get a shot off and test Terrier redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matt Gilbert. Dubyoski dribbled the ball past two BU defenders and into the left side of the box. He took the shot, but Gilbert leaped and stopped it with both hands, catching it on the rebound.
With the game still scoreless in the 17th minute, junior forward Dominque Badji looked to give the Terriers (3-4-1, 0-1 Patriot League) an early advantage when he had a scoring chance. Badji connected on a shot and looked to have a goal as the shot went by Navy goalkeeper Gavin Snyder, but the ball hit the post and was cleared away from danger by the Midshipmen defense.
10 minutes after Badji went close, the Midshipmen attack took advantage of their opportunity, and put their first goal in. Midfielder Guy Skord played the ball into the box for forward Alex Evans. Evans quickly kicked the pass to Dubyoski, who shot it to the top left corner of the net.
In the 37th and 38th minutes, BU had its best chances of the half. Freshman midfielder David Asbjornsson was able to get a shot off in the box, but Snyder was there to stop the shot and preserve the Navy lead. Senior midfielder Anthony Ciccone was able to get off another shot for the Terriers a minute later, but again, Snyder made the save.
In the 44th minute, Navy looked to pad its lead when forward Sam Bascom took the ball into the left side of the goal box but Gilbert was able to make a diving save to keep the game 1-0.
At the end of the half Navy held an advantage in shots on goal at 4-2 but BU held the lead in corners with three to Navy’s one.
The Terriers looked to get even in the opening minutes of the second half, as BU had a chance to tie the score in the 47th minute. Sophomore forward Mac McGuire crossed the ball to the left side of the goal box for senior midfielder Fannar Arnarsson. Arnarsson flicked the ball toward goal with his head, but it went just above the bar.
Arnarsson had another chance in the 51st minute when he took the ball and dribbled it just outside of the 18-yard box and took a shot that again went just high of goal.
Despite the early chances in the initial minutes of the second half, the Terriers had to go on the defensive for the rest of the half, as the Midshipmen sought to pad their lead. In the second half, Navy posted seven shots, with five going on goal.
In the 59th and 60th minutes, Navy had two chances to extend its advantage when Dubyoski and midfielder Grant Valenstein both had opportunities to add to the lead. Valenstein was able to get the shot towards on net, but Gilbert was able to make the save. The potent Dubyoski lined up a shot, but Gilbert did not have to make a save on it, as it went high of goal.
“We knew [Navy] was strong in the midfield, they like to use their bodies,” Roberts said. “They’re very fast and they play very hard.”
After both teams battled for possession for the next 20 minutes, the Midshipmen had two quality scoring chances in the 83rd and 84th minutes. Skord was able to put the first shot on net, but again, Gilbert was prepared to make the stop. Bascom had another opportunity to add some insurance to the lead, but his shot went wide of Gilbert.
In the 85th and 88th minutes the Terriers looked to knot up the score, but were not able to do so. McGuire had the first chance but his shot went wide of goal. In the 88th minute Badji took a shot, but it was blocked by the Navy defense.
“Creating chances for us is number one, and finishing them off is number two,” Roberts said. “I think now it just comes down to us capitalizing on our chances. We got behind them and hit the post twice. We have to start converting on those chances.”
As the final whistle blew, the Midshipmen came away with a 1-0 win over the Terriers. Next time out, as the Terriers take on Brown University in Providence, R.I. this Tuesday night, Roberts said his team will have to make a few adjustments.
“Brown is a different type of team than Navy,” Roberts said. “We’ll have to change a little bit to that but that’s about it.”