The Boston University women’s soccer team will return to Nickerson Field and kick off a three-game homestand Wednesday night as the Terriers face off against College of the Holy Cross in what is the first Patriot League home game for BU.
Wednesday’s match will be the fifth meeting between the Terriers (6-3-1, 1-1-0 Patriot League) and the Crusaders (1-6-3, 1-1 Patriot League). BU leads the series with a 3-1-0 advantage, including a 1-0 win on Nov. 8, 2000, which was the Terriers’ first NCAA tournament victory in program history.
The Terriers earned their first Patriot League conference win Saturday when they shut out the U.S. Military Academy by a score of 1-0 in West Point, N.Y.
Senior goalkeeper Andrea Green was excellent once again in net, recording three saves and earning her fifth shutout of the season. Green has been one of the main reasons why the Terriers are first in the Patriot League in goals allowed per game (0.50), as she is first in the conference and 20th nationally in goals-against average (0.459).
Green has been aided by a stout Terrier backfield, led by sophomore defender McKenzie Hollenbaugh and junior defender Kai Miller. In 10 games this year, the BU defense has only allowed five goals and has allowed more than one goal in a game just once.
As a show of the team’s defensive consistency, the Terriers’ last three wins have all been by a score of 1-0.
The Terriers have been even more impressive at home this season, as they are 4-0-1 while playing in the friendly confines of Nickerson Field and have not allowed a goal in those five games.
While the Terriers’ offense has not been a consistent presence so far, they have been scoring timely goals at critical moments, especially from freshman forward Erica Kosienski, who leads the team with three goals on the season, all of which have been game-winners.
Despite coming off of the bench, Kosienski has immediately made her presence felt in the conference, as she has captured three Patriot League BRINE Rookie of the Week awards already this season.
So far this year, the Terriers offense has usually gotten off to fast starts, as six of the team’s nine goals this year have come in the first half.
Despite this supposed quick start in games, BU coach Nancy Feldman said that she cares more about her team setting the tone than about getting on the board early.
“The game is 90 minutes, or it might be 110 minutes,” Feldman said. “… What I’m looking for in my team is that we’re ready to start the game and ready to set the tone of the tempo with our defending, ready to set the tempo with our speed of attack and with our possession and our attack, and that we sustain that throughout the course of the game while we’re also bringing physicality that’s needed.”
It has been a frustrating season to say the least for the Crusaders. While goalkeeper Carly McCabe has been great in net this season with a 0.81 goals-against average, good for fourth in the Patriot League, the Crusaders offense has been downright anemic.
Despite averaging 12.7 shots per game, the Crusaders have only scored two goals in 10 games, with those two tallies coming from junior Ally Pasquariello and sophomore Annie Galvin.
Holy Cross got its first win of the year on Sept. 21 in its conference opener against Loyola University (Maryland) by a score of 1-0.
“They’re 1-1 in the conference, same as us,” Feldman said. “All of their games have been close, they have very good goalkeeping, they don’t let up a lot of goals. Their team defense is a hardworking bunch, but their goalkeeper is one of the best goalkeepers in the league. She’s tough to score on, and that keeps them in games.
“They play kind of a possession style, so there’s purpose to what they do. … They’re a good soccer team.”
For Feldman, the biggest key to a Terrier victory Wednesday lies in the team controlling the tempo of the game and maintaining pressure on attack.
“I think we have to get in the box, I think we have to penetrate,” Feldman said. “The second is for us to be able to use our speed of play with possession to be able to break down their defense when it’s organized. [We need] to be able to play in and out, to be able to use the switch in the point of attack and to find the holes in the defense.
“And then the third is what I thought we did really good against Army. I thought we set the tone with our defending. … We have to bring that every game. When we do that, we have a territorial advantage, we end up playing on their half of the field instead of playing in our half of the field.”