With four games left in the 2013 season, the Boston University men’s soccer team needs to go on a commanding win streak in order to advance to the Patriot League quarterfinals.
The Terriers (4-8-1, 1-4 Patriot League) currently rank eighth out of the 10 teams in the Patriot League. The top six teams in the conference advance to the playoffs.
In the last four games of the season, BU plays Loyola University-Maryland (10th in the standings), Colgate University (seventh), American University (fourth) and Bucknell University (fifth).
If the Terriers can pull off three wins in their last four games, their odds of making it to the playoffs will drastically increase.
“I’m looking for energy,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “We want to go out and play well and play good soccer overall.”
BU will also need help from some of the higher-ranked teams in the conference. Luckily for the Terriers, they are within two conference wins away from American (4-6-4, 2-2-1) and Bucknell (8-4-1, 2-2-1), the fourth- and fifth-ranked teams in the league.
Since many of the schools ranked ahead of BU have yet to play one another this season, the league standings may look substantially different by the end of the year. Lafayette College may have the toughest schedule remaining, as it has to take on American, Bucknell, the U.S. Military Academy and Loyola (5-6-2, 0-4-1) in a two-week period.
Looking for Offense
In what has become a common theme for the Terriers this season, the team will be looking for offensive production from some of its supporting players.
“It’s been difficult with changing the lineup so often,” Roberts said. “[It’s] been difficult to find rhythm with the guys we have in. I think we’ve been improving on opportunities, scoring chances, passing. We just have to put it all together.”
The team is in the middle or toward the bottom of the Patriot League in nearly all major offensive statistics, including total goals (seventh in the conference with 11), assists (seventh place with 10) and shots per game (sixth place with 13.31).
The only two players that seem to have made dents in the Patriot League stat sheets are junior forward Dominique Badji and sophomore forward Lucas McBride.
Badji is fifth in the conference in shots (35), while McBride is ranked sixth in goals (three).
Undoubtedly BU’s most valuable player of late has been Badji. Badji had a huge impact in the Terriers’ 2-0 loss to Lafayette, as he recorded a team-high five shots in the contest.
“Dom has been playing well,” Roberts said. “That’s always good to see.”
Troubles with health
Staying healthy has been a consistent problem for the Terriers this year.
BU is still missing the 2011 America East Defender of the Year in junior defender Kelvin Madzongwe, who is out with an injury. Madzongwe, the core of the Terriers’ backfield, has not played for the Terriers since Sept. 28.
“Health is always an issue,” Roberts said. “ [Junior midfielder Cameron Souri] has been out. Health has been an issue for us. Kelvin has only been in for one full game. We have to make up for it with other ways.”
BU has dealt with these injuries by frequently subbing and resting players during the course of a game. In the game against Lafayette, the team had 15 players who registered at least 30 minutes.
The Terriers are hoping a week off between games will give their team more energy and will give them the boost needed to finish the season strong, as a chance to advance to the Patriot League Tournament, although slim, is still within reach.