The Boston University women’s soccer team returns home this Saturday to face Bucknell University, as it wraps up the regular season and prepares for its first stint in the Patriot League Tournament.
While the Terriers (12-3-3, 7-1 Patriot League) may have already entrenched themselves with the second seed in the upcoming playoffs following wins against Colgate University and American University, the team is still looking to close its season in strong fashion and continue its streak of 11 consecutive winning seasons.
BU last played this past Saturday, winning 1-0 over the Eagles in overtime (6-10-1, 4-3-1 Patriot League). Junior forward Taylor Krebs scored the lone goal of the game, while senior goalkeeper Andrea Green kept a clean sheet for the 11th time this season.
The Terriers were aided by the continued productivity of senior forward Madison Clemens, who has lived up to her title of Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player of the Year by ranking in top 10 in the conference in all three major offensive categories. The strong play of freshman forward Erica Kosienski and her four game-winning goals this season has also boosted BU.
“We’ve counted on [Clemens and Kosienski] all season long,” said BU coach Nancy Feldman. “They’ve been so strong and steady, and I think they’re consistently adding different components to their game [as the season progresses]. They made some big plays in important moments … and they’re [so often] on the firing line. They have ice in their veins, both of them. They’re very, very strong mentally and they just win their battles.”
Of course, the Terriers are not only about the team’s two leading scorers, as in the back seven lies another tough, experienced core, led by the play of senior midfielders Kylie Strom and Emma Clark and junior defender Kai Miller.
“They’re doing a little bit more in attack, making both short and long plays” Feldman said on the defenders. “They cover for each other. They cover for the outside backs. They made some big tackles where if you miss it or misjudge it or don’t win your battle, the other team is off to the races.”
Meanwhile, the Bison (7-8-1, 4-3-1 Patriot League) have also clinched a playoff berth but will be competing for a higher seed between Colgate (9-6-1, 5-2-1 Patriot League) and American, who are ranked third and fourth respectively.
Like the Terriers, Bucknell has also been able to rely on a variety of players for its success. Freshman Jessica Ratner won Patriot League Rookie of the Week honors Monday when she managed to make seven saves and collected a shutout in her first collegiate start. Offensively, senior forward Chelsey Garkowski has totaled 46 shots this year and has averaged a little under three shots per game, good for third overall in the Patriot League.
BU will continue their long-standing tradition of honoring the graduating class this weekend by paying tribute to their senior members, one that includes Green, Clark and Strom among many other important players.
“This [Class of 2014] has been significant contributors since they got here,” Feldman said in reference to the extended playing time Clark and Strom saw as freshmen. “They haven’t just tasted success, they have a lot of it. I think they feel a responsibility to leave the program in a better shape.”
The road to accomplish that task of making the NCAA Tournament begins next week, as the Terriers play at Nickerson Field once again to start the road to the postseason.
“It’s a terrific opportunity,” Feldman said about playing in the playoffs. “I think by now our success has become a culture and an expectation. [The Patriot League] is a tough conference to play in. The games are all tight. There are a lot of good teams, but fortunately we’re up to it.”