Soccer, Sports

Terriers take to the national stage

The Boston University women’s soccer team’s game tonight at Binghamton University will be one of the most significant in the program’s 14-year history, regardless of the outcome. For the first time in history, BU will be taking the field in front of a national television audience.
Fox Soccer Channel has decided to showcase the 8 p.m. America East showdown as its NSCAA Women’s Game of the Week. It will be the first of four Division-1 women’s games televised by FSC, making BU one of just eight teams to be featured by the network.
While BU coach Nancy Feldman said her team is both honored and excited to play on television, she doesn’t expect the exposure to add any extra pressure.
‘It’s a great opportunity for us to showcase BU soccer and soccer in the America East,’ Feldman said. ‘We don’t really look at it as pressure – it’s not about pressure. It’s a very important game, and it’s going to be very important for us to get [a win].
‘We’re not really looking at this game as anything different. It’s just that it’s a terrific chance for us to get ourselves out there and give people a chance to see us.’
The FSC broadcast will give the women’s program some much-welcomed exposure, especially among high school seniors. Nationally televised games are often used as recruiting tools by coaches in a number of major college sports, and Feldman said women’s soccer is no different.
‘I think that whenever you can get your program some face time and reach out to soccer people all over the country, it helps a ton,’ Feldman said. ‘That does mean that we have to perform up to our abilities to make us look more attractive.’
BU comes into action tonight riding a four-game unbeaten streak with wins over Brown University, the University at Albany and the University of Vermont and a tie against Dartmouth College. In those four games, the Terriers are outshooting opponents by an astounding 85-28 margin and outscoring them 7-1.’
Oddly enough, the two leading scorers returning from last year’s squad, senior Marisha Schumacher-Hodge and junior Casey Brown, have struggled to ink their names into the 2008 box scores.
Schumacher-Hodge, who led the team with 14 points last year, finally registered her first goal of the season Sunday in a 4-0 win over Vermont, while Brown has tallied no goals and one assist in the 2008 campaign.
‘With Marisha, she’s getting her share of shots,’ Feldman said. ‘She scored a really great goal against Vermont, and I think that could be something to build on for her. A lot of times, when you’re not getting your goals, you stop believing that when you strike the ball it’s going to go into the back of the net. I think there’s been a little bit of that going on with Marisha.
‘She really refocused herself after a conversation with me, and we just talked about really going for it when you get the opportunity.’
Meanwhile, Brown’s lack of tallies can be attributed to more intense attention from opposing defenses, Feldman said.
‘Casey’s very good on corner kicks for us, and that’s where she scored the majority of her goals last year,’ Feldman said. ‘Now we’re back for another year and everyone knows she’s back, and I think [opponents are] marking her with their best player.
‘She’s had a couple of good opportunities – there have been one or two that were blocked at the goal line, but it’s going to come. She’s one of a few targets that we have from set pieces, so even if she’s not getting goals, [junior Emily Pallotta] has done a good job and other people have stepped up. But I think [Brown’s struggles] are really because they’re marking her tight.’
In total, 10 players have registered points for BU in 2008, a testament to the team’s ability to read opposing defenses and simply take what it is given.
‘We don’t have just one goal scorer on our team,’ Feldman said. ‘The way we run our attack, depending on who is open and how the other defense plays us, different people will get chances.’
The Terrier offense won’t be the only one drawing the cameras’ attention tonight, however, as Binghamton’s offense is led by the conference’s leading scorer, Dani Raske, who has netted five goals and registered three assists.
An aggressive attacker, Raske is dangerous from anywhere on the field, having scored goals from as far out as 35 yards. The key, Feldman said, will be neutralizing her in the midfield and making sure that when she does work the ball into BU territory, Raske never sees an open shooting lane to the net.
‘We’re definitely going to have to pay very close attention to [Raske],’ Feldman said. ‘She can shoot from anywhere, so we really have to key in on making sure she doesn’t get any open looks at the goal line from just about anywhere.’
According to Feldman, though, the biggest key to winning tonight is fairly straightforward – BU just needs to play its game.
‘Part of it is definitely trying to neutralize [Binghamton],’ Feldman said. ‘But most of the things [we need to do to win] are the things we try to be good at every day.’

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One Comment

  1. Your very ignorant Jake