The struggling Boston University men’s soccer team will look to end its five-game winless streak when it faces College of the Holy Cross Wednesday night in its first home Patriot League game under the bright lights of Nickerson Field.
The Terriers (3-6-1, 0-2-0 Patriot League) boast an 8-1 all-time record against Holy Cross (3-5-1, 1-1-0 Patriot League). BU has especially dominated the Crusaders over its last three meetings, outscoring them 8-0.
When BU and Holy Cross faced off last season, the Terriers once again won with ease as they blew past the Crusaders 4-0. The game featured two goals from sophomore forward Mac McGuire in what was his first career multi-goal performance. Always-consistent senior captain Anthony Ciccone added two assists of his own, while junior goalkeeper Nick Thompson only needed one save to record the win and the clean sheet.
The Terriers will look to repeat history against the Crusaders as they come into Wednesday’s game free falling in the standings. Despite their five-game winless streak, the Terriers looked inspired in their last contest against the U.S. Military Academy.
BU capitalized early with a goal from the foot of sophomore forward Lucas McBride in the second minute and added another score in the 72nd minute off the head of sophomore defender Jeroen Blugh. Blugh’s scored on a beautifully placed free kick into the 18-yard box from junior midfielder Jordan Barker.
“We created some good chances and controlled the game,” said BU coach Neil Roberts in an optimistic tone. “The last few games, we’ve been creating some good chances.”
Up 2-0 late in the second half, the Terriers looked poised to come away with a win against the top defense in the Patriot League and a squad ranked eighth in the most recent National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Mid-Atlantic Region poll. With just 18 minutes left, the Terriers were on their way, but Army (7-1-1) would make a spirited comeback.
The Black Knights mounted a late rally with goals from freshman Christian Ollen and forward Jordan Lee in the 83rd and 85th minute respectively and, just like that, the game was tied at two apiece.
“We have to manage the game a little bit better,” Roberts said. “It is something that we can’t have happen.”
The game eventually headed into overtime, and in the 103rd minute, midfielder Alex Jaroscak delivered a heartbreaker to the Terriers as he found the back of the net for the Black Knights, giving them a 3-2 victory.
The Terriers have been a rollercoaster this year, as this five-game winless streak has come right off the heels of a three-game winning streak earlier in the season. Roberts argued they have been competitive all season long, though.
“We’ve been playing better than our record shows,” Roberts said. “It was another good performance … we probably deserved better, but we didn’t do what we needed to do.”
They will look to rediscover some of the magic at Nickerson Field, where they are a respectable 3-2.
On the offensive side, four Terriers have recorded two goals on the season. Junior forward Dominique Badji leads the pack with 24 shots. Ciccone still has a team-high four assists with Barker not too far behind, having registered two assists of his own.
On the defense, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matt Gilbert has started eight of 10 games and has registered three clean sheets while also allowing multiple goals three times.
The Crusaders boast some talent of their own, as freshman Joey DeVivo leads the team in both points and goals as he has accounted for eight points on four goals. Senior captain Monty Sanders has also held his own with a team-leading and career-best three assists this season along with being tied for second in points with five. Sophomore goalie Kevin Wright comes into the day with 35 saves, fifth-best in the Patriot League.
Holy Cross comes into the game off a 3-0 loss to American University, but it has beaten Sacred Heart University, Bryant University and Loyola University-Maryland. The Terriers and Crusaders have shared two mutual opponents this year, as they both lost to Providence College, but the Terriers came away with a 1-0 win Sept. 17 against Colonial Athletic Association preseason favorite Northeastern University, while the Crusaders fell 2-0 to the Huskies (4-4-2).