Soccer, Sports

Battle of BUs at Nickerson

The old adage that a good defense beats a good offense will be tested tomorrow at Nickerson Field when the Boston University men’s soccer team plays host to Binghamton University.
The Terriers rank second in America East with a 1.60 goals-per-game average, while the Bearcats boast the conference’s top defense allowing just 0.51 goals per game.
‘They’re a good team,’ BU coach Neil Roberts said. ‘They don’t score a lot of goals, but they’re very good defensively. We have to be clean and create good chances.’
Junior goalkeeper Jason Stenta, who has played every minute for the Bearcats this season, is the leader of the Binghamton (6-2-3, 1-0-0 AE) defense. He leads the conference in both goals-against average (0.51) and save percentage (.898).
Stenta has allowed just two goals in his last eight games. He has been particularly outstanding in his last two contests. On Sept. 30, he allowed one goal on 10 shots against the No. 4 University of Maryland. Wednesday afternoon he saved all nine shots he faced against the University at Albany, owner of the conference’s top offense.
If the Terriers (4-5-2, 1-1-0) want to get on the board tomorrow, they’ll need midfielders sophomore Aaron O’Neal and freshman Michael Bustamante to move the ball and create chances.
The duo is tied for second on the Terriers with seven points each. O’Neal leads the team with five assists, while Bustamante has netted a goal in two of his last three games. They were the lone point scorers in BU’s 1-0 win over Stony Brook University Wednesday night, as O’Neal set up Bustamante for what proved to be the game-winner.
‘Aaron has only played a couple games [in the midfield], so he’s still learning,’ Roberts said. ‘[Bustamante] is very good on the ball. He brings people to him, and he can find open players.’
At the other end of the field, the Bearcats have struggled to score this season, ranking eighth in the conference with 1.10 goals per game. They have four multiple goal scorers, led by junior forward Cameron Keith’s four tallies. Junior back Kyle Kucharski is tied with O’Neal for second in the conference with five assists.
The Terriers could be without senior goalie Hrafn Davidsson, who left Wednesday’s game with a leg injury. Roberts said Davidsson is ‘day-to-day’ and that he probably will not make a decision until gametime.
If Davidsson is unable to go, junior Joe Cullaro is a more-than-capable insurance policy. He has yet to allow a goal in 78 minutes in net this season after going 3-0-2 with a 0.72 goals-against average in five starts last year.
Regardless of who is in net, BU will need a more consistent effort from its defense. Since their shutout of Brown University on Sept. 17, the Terriers have allowed seven goals in their last five games. They carry some momentum into tomorrow’s game, though, after shutting out the Seawolves Wednesday night.
‘We need to shore up defensively,’ Roberts said. ‘We’ve been talking about consistency. [Binghamton is] a good team, and it should be a good game. We’ve been doing a good job offensively and in the midfield. We just have to put it together.’

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