The Boston University men’s soccer team picked up its second win in three games on a chilly Saturday night at Nickerson Field when it defeated Loyola University-Maryland 2-0 on goals from junior forward Dominique Badji and sophomore forward Lucas McBride.
The Terriers’ (5-8-1, 2–4 Patriot League) first goal came in the 15th minute. Senior midfielder Anthony Ciccone slid the ball to Badji on the left side of the 18-yard box where Badji rifled it past Loyola (5-7-2, 0-5-1 Patriot League) goalkeeper Zach Kane.
“[Badji’s] been doing so much for us,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “He’s probably our most consistent player and doing everything, he just hasn’t been finishing. He’s been getting opportunities, he’s been getting there. They just haven’t been falling for him.”
With that goal, Badji tied McBride for the BU team lead in goals at three apiece — a tie that would not last long, as in the 79th minute, McBride beat Kane for the second goal of the game.
Some solid Terrier passing from senior defender Evan Nadaner and junior midfielder Jordan Barker, who picked up assists on the play, allowed McBride to get into the Greyhound box and sneak the ball past Kane on a one-timer that appeared to be slightly deflected off a Loyola defender.
Freshman midfielder David Asbjornsson almost scored his first collegiate goal in the 65th minute on a corner kick from Ciccone, but his header shot went off the crossbar.
The Terriers were able to stifle Loyola attacks all night, as their defense was solid enough to only allow six shots overall and three shots on goal.
This is partially due to the return of sophomore defender Jeroen Blugh and junior Kelvin Madzongwe, the 2011 America East Defender of the Year.
“To have them both back in there allowed us so many other things,” Roberts said. “Unfortunately, we lost [junior midfielder Cameron Souri against] Lafayette [College on Oct. 19], but having both of them makes our back line better, it makes our midfielders better. It changes the whole game.”
Madzongwe was especially active on defense, whether it was intercepting a pass, breaking up a potential shot attempt or bringing the ball up the field for his teammates.
The Terrier defense was also helped by another solid night from redshirt freshman goalkeeper Matt Gilbert, who turned in another shutout, the team’s fifth of the season. Gilbert used his 6-foot-4 frame to his advantage as he stepped in front of Loyola attackers to catch balls on corner or free kicks.
The Greyhounds’ best opportunity came in the 57th minute when midfielder Diego McQuestion had a 1-on-1 with Gilbert but could not convert the chance.
The Loyola offense struggled and could not break through the Terrier defense. The offense did not muster a shot in the last 30 minutes against the stout Terrier defenders as the Greyhounds attempted a comeback.
“When you’re in a situation we’re in, all wins are big,” Roberts said. “We’re happy we played well and we finished off some chances.”
Roberts also said having two crucial defenders back in Madzongwe and Blugh helped the offense click.
“It starts in the back, with [Madzongwe] and [Blugh] back there more comfortable with moving the ball, so our whole possession is better, everything is better about it [the offense],” Roberts said.
Looking ahead, the Terriers’ last three games of the season will determine their playoff fate. They are in eighth place and are vying for the sixth spot in the Patriot League standings.
“We’re looking to build on this, obviously, we just have to take it one game at a time,” Roberts said. “It gets us closer to where we want to be and now we just have to relax and get ready for Colgate [University].”