The first month of the 2016 season was a tumultuous one for the Boston University women’s soccer team.
From their season opener on Aug. 19 until Sept. 18, the Terriers failed to record a single victory, dropping their first 10 matchups in an excruciating fashion.
However, in their second Patriot League tilt, the Terriers (9-11-1 Patriot League 8-1) overcame American University, 1-0. The squad proceeded to avoid defeat in each of its final nine regular season games, until the overtime period of the Patriot League Championship final where they fell to Bucknell University, 2-1.
Now, returning with four of their top five point-getters from last season, BU is focused on returning to the top of the Patriot League mountain.
“We have new leadership and players who advanced themselves individually, [having] grown and developed,” said head coach Nancy Feldman. “We are motivated. We have a more mature team on paper than we did last year. We have a team with more older players, which can be an advantage. [Also], our freshman have come in and demonstrated their readiness. They are a physically strong group and they have done well on their initial [conditioning] testing.”
The team rode an aggressive style of play throughout the 2016 season, outshooting opponents 301-255 over the course of the season. Expect a comparable style of play during their 2017 campaign, as the Terriers’ offensive attack is led by a group which garnered plentiful experience a year ago.
The team gets its first taste of game action in an exhibition game Aug. 12 on the road against the University of New Hampshire. The regular season kicks off soon after with a game against the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. The Terriers will look to redeem themselves after last year’s season ending loss to Bucknell in its first Patriot League contest on Sept. 16 at home.
Featured at the forward position is rising junior McKenna Doyle, who was named to the All-Patriot League Third Team last season — proving Patriot League coaches correct about choosing her to be honored as a member of the Preseason All-Patriot League before her sophomore year. She led the team in both points and goals scored with 11 and four respectively while her three assists were good for second on the team.
Doyle was a driving force in placing the Terriers in the Patriot League Final, netting the game-tying goal against the United States Naval Academy at 79:23 in a contest that BU would end up winning.
Alongside Doyle is rising sophomore Kelly Park, who impressed at the forward spot in her first year with the team.
While appearing in 20 games and starting on eight occasions as a freshman, she was tied for third on the team in goals with three. Her role should increase with the group this season.
Piloting the midfielder position is rising senior Jesse Shreck, who was honored for her season by being named to the All-Patriot League Third Team a season ago. Her 10 points were the second most on the team and she tied for the BU lead with four assists.
Shreck was selected to represent the United States in the 2017 World Maccabiah Games. In this international tournament, she had five assists and two goals. Ultimately the United States lost to Israel in the championship game by a score of 2-1.
“It’s always a great thing in the summer if the girls can have high-level playing opportunities,” Feldman said. “There’s a value to that — playing at a high level and continuing to sharpen up your soccer-playing abilities. The added benefit to the Maccabiah Games is that it is a travel experience. There’s a representation of your country that is incredibly special. [It is] the opportunity of a lifetime. [Shreck] had a wonderful time.”