Soccer, Sports

M. soccer nabs playoff spot

The Boston University men’s soccer team clinched a spot in the America East Tournament Saturday in Baltimore, Md., as it rolled past the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, 3-0.
The Terriers (8-5-3, 5-1-1 AE) have won four straight road games and are unbeaten in their last six contests. The Retrievers fell to 6-7-2 on the season and 1-4-1 in conference play.
BU scored two early goals to take the lead and never looked back. In the fifth minute, junior forward Shaun Taylor found UMBC senior goalkeeper Steve King off his mark and put the ball in the back of the net. Freshmen Michael Bustamante and Stephen Knox each earned assists on the play.
Taylor now has eight goals this season and leads the team in points with 18. Bustamante, who has seven assists, ranks second with 11 points.
Less than seven minutes after Taylor’s goal, BU struck again ‘-‘- this time with an unassisted goal from midfielder Ben Berube. The freshman brought the ball up the right side then let loose on King, who got a piece of the ball but not enough to stop it as Berube scored his second goal of the season.
BU closed out the scoring in the 68th minute, as Knox set up sophomore Aaron O’Neal for his third goal of the season.
‘Collectively, we have a lot of people who can score goals,’ BU coach Neil Roberts said. ‘It’s good to know that nobody has to be the one to score the goal and that we have a couple of guys that can. Going forward, that will be very important.’
The Retrievers had a golden opportunity to avoid being shut out in the final minutes of the second half, as they were awarded a penalty kick. But BU goalkeeper Hrafn Davidsson saved freshman Andrew Bulls’ shot to preserve the shutout.
Davidsson has five solo shutouts in 2008 and has combined with junior Joe Cullaro for two others.
The defense in front of Davidsson and Cullaro has made the difference for the Terriers this season. The back line, a rotation of senior captain Dan Schultz, junior Richy Dorman, sophomore Matt Shea and freshman Colin Henry, protected Davidsson well against the Retrievers, allowing only one shot in the first half and three shots on goal in the final frame.
‘In the last half of the season, we’ve been concentrating on playing better defense and not giving up as many chances as we did in the beginning of the season,’ Roberts said. ‘The team seems to be picking up with that. For us to move forward in the conference tournament, and hopefully after that, we need to be very good defensively.’
Despite playing loose defense in the second half, the Terriers were able to close the door on the Retrievers and pull away with a victory. With the win, BU now stands alone at the top of the conference standings with 16 points, as the University at Albany did not play a conference game this weekend.
The Terriers have a week off to rest and prepare for their final regular-season game. BU’s Senior Day will take place next Saturday at 1 p.m. against the University of Hartford at Nickerson Field, and Roberts is confident his team will be ready to play.
‘We’ll give the guys a couple of days off, then we’ll get ready for Hartford,’ Roberts said. ‘I think [the guys] all know how big of a game it will be, and I’m sure we’ll be ready for it.’

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