Soccer, Sports

Streaking m. soccer hits the home stretch

The Boston University men’s soccer team will look to extend its winning streak to four games when it travels to Durham, N.H., tomorrow for a 1 p.m. kickoff against the University of New Hampshire at Bremner Field.
With four games remaining in the regular season, the Terriers (6-5-2, 3-1-0 America East) and the University of Hartford currently sit in a first-place tie atop the conference with nine points apiece. The Wildcats (6-3-3, 1-2-1) have three points, giving them a two-point lead for the sixth and final playoff spot.
BU coach Neil Roberts said his team is not worried about the standings.
‘We need to worry about New Hampshire,’ Roberts said. ‘We just have to pick up the points when they’re offered to us. We control our own destiny right now, which is good with four games left.’
The Terriers have an arsenal of offensive weapons at their disposal. Junior Shaun Taylor is the most lethal, as he leads the team with seven goals and 15 points. In BU’s 1-0 win at the University of Maine on Wednesday, Taylor recorded the game’s lone goal and led all players with three shots on goal.
‘[Taylor’s] being very patient and doing a real good job of making things happen when he gets the ball,’ Roberts said. ‘He’s doing exactly what we’re asking him to do and he knows that if defenses overload on him, we have [freshmen Stephen] Knox and [Michael] Bustamante to take the pressure off.’
Knox has recorded two goals and two assists for six points in just seven starts, while Bustamante is second on the team with five assists and nine points. Sophomore midfielder Aaron O’Neal has also been a crucial part of BU’s offensive attack, as he leads the team with six assists and ranks third with eight points.
Roberts said his offense will have to adjust to the size of Bremner Field. While Nickerson Field is one of the largest pitches in the conference, Bremner is one of the smallest.
‘The smaller field means we won’t have as much room to roam,’ Roberts said. ‘We like to spread the field and get teams to chase us, but that won’t be as easy on their field.’
While the Terriers can turn to any number of players in the offensive zone, the UNH offense is primarily a two-man attack. Junior forward Chris Banks leads the way with six goals for 12 points. Senior forward Kyle Urso is second on the team with 10 points (3 goals and 4 assists).
‘You have to be aware of those two,’ Roberts said. ‘You know if you give them opportunities, especially Banks, they’re going to score. And [Urso] is very good on set pieces.’
Roberts said it will be crucial for BU to limit the Wildcats’ corner and free kicks.
‘They live off of set plays,’ Roberts said. ‘We can’t turn the ball over in bad areas because that leads to more set pieces.’
The Wildcats will want to make sure they don’t fall behind in the second half because BU has been dominant in the final 45 minutes of play. The Terriers have outscored their opponents, 11-5, and outshot them, 104-68, in the latter frame this season.
Roberts attributed the success to his team’s ability to control the ball.
‘We do a good job possessing the ball and making teams chase us,’ Roberts said. ‘I think that wears them down as the game goes on.’

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