Soccer, Sports

W. soccer caps perfect AE run

It’s been eight years since the Boston University women’s soccer team managed a perfect conference record in regular-season play, so you’d understand if the Terriers wanted to make the regular season last as long as possible.
It took 109:48 yesterday, but finally, with 12 seconds left in the second and final overtime, BU junior Casey Brown headed in a corner kick from senior Marisha Schumacher-Hodge, giving BU a 1-0 road victory over the University of Hartford (8-6-4, 4-3-1 America East).
The goal was Brown’s first of the season, and it gave the Terriers (13-5-1, 8-0-0) their first unblemished conference record since 2000.
‘It’s really hard to do,’ BU coach Nancy Feldman said of running the table in conference play. ‘I’m really proud of [the team]. They ought to be really proud of this. I think it’s a huge accomplishment to go through without having a slip-up.’
Brown’s corner opportunity was made possible by a tremendous play from sophomore Corie Halasz. With about 30 seconds left in the second overtime, Schumacher-Hodge hit Halasz with a pass out wide. Halasz drove toward the goal and let loose on a shot from roughly 22 yards out. Hartford goalkeeper Lauren Brodeur managed to get a hand on the laser of a shot, deflecting it just above the crossbar.
‘If [the shot] was just a little bit to the right or to the left, it would have been in the back of the net,’ Feldman said. ‘But because it was right over [Brodeur’s] head, she was able to deal with it.’
With the clock ticking, the Terriers had to chase after the deflected ball since the Hartford sideline assistants were slow to retrieve the out-of-bounds ball. With 12 seconds left on the clock, Schumacher-Hodge booted the corner into the six-yard box, where Brown was waiting to turn the ball into the back of the net.
‘We had to run over to get the ball because, of course, the ball people weren’t going to help us at that point,’ Feldman said. ‘We rolled the ball over to Marisha, who got it into the box. Marisha served a really great service, and Casey Brown, who was our leading goal scorer last year and is great on set pieces, got on the end of it.’
The BU offense was slowed noticeably by a stingy Hartford defense. After averaging 11.67 shots on goal per game in their previous three outings, the Terriers were held to just four shots on goal yesterday, three of which came in the final overtime period.
Hartford slowed the Terrier attack with physical midfield play ‘-‘- a tactic BU opponents have not used this season. To this point, most teams had tried to slow the Terriers by stacking defenders in the box, slowing BU’s crossing game and forcing the team to take shots from out wide.
‘[Hartford was] very physical,’ Feldman said. ‘They really were running us down and hustling us and really made a challenge for us.
‘I think we got stronger as the game wore on and in the overtime, I thought we were playing the stronger game. In both the first and second overtime periods, I thought we started to get a little more separation and started to move the ball around a bit quicker.’
With the offense struggling to find its rhythm, the defense needed to step up, and with sophomore goalkeeper Janie Reilly sidelined with a lower body strain, the job of guarding the BU net was left to freshman Annie Tooley.
It was Tooley’s first collegiate start, and though the Denver, Col., native only had to stop three shots, her outing was still an encouraging and important one in Feldman’s eyes.
‘Annie’s worked really hard all year to get ready for this moment,’ Feldman said. ‘She’s been a terrific competitor in practice. Not playing is, I’m sure to a lot of the kids, hard because you want to perform on gameday because you work really hard, but she’s always kept her head up. She always approached things in a positive way, never complaining or questioning. This was her reward.
‘She performed great. She was confident. She was communicating with the defenders. She owned the box. She was very aggressive appropriately. She really expanded the game and she played great. She made some good saves.’
Feldman said that while it was nice to get her backup goalie some valuable experience heading into the conference tournament, Reilly was expected to be in net and probably could have started yesterday had the game carried more meaning. Feldman said that when the Terriers take to Nickerson Field next Sunday for their first matchup of the America East Tournament, the BU faithful should expect to see a healthy Reilly.

One Comment

  1. (im referring to your comments on previous articles)