Soccer, Sports

NCAAs short-lived for road-weary Terriers

The Boston University women’s soccer team’s 2008 season came to a close last night, as the Terriers (15-6-1) fell to the defending national champions, the University of Southern California, 2-0, in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

The fourth-seeded Trojans (16-4-1) came out firing, blasting two quick shots on BU sophomore goalkeeper Janie Reilly. Reilly was up to the challenge, as was the case for most of the contest, turning away both shots.

Reilly faced nine shots on goal on the night, which was as many as she had seen in BU’s previous four games combined. Particularly in the first half, USC challenged the redshirt sophomore from all over the field and yet, through one half, the game remained scoreless.

‘Janie was wonderful,’ BU coach Nancy Feldman said. ‘There was certainly a period where [USC] had a couple [opportunities] early in the game, and then late in the first half and I thought she played really well.’

The second half started much the same way as the first, except this time the Trojans would finally get the best of Reilly and the BU defense. In the game’s 60th minute, USC sophomore Ashli Sandoval served a free kick into the box, where the BU defense momentarily misplayed it.

The ball eventually found the foot of senior Ashley Nick, who dished the rock to fellow senior Janessa Currier in front of the BU goal. Currier collected the pass and picked her spot in the right side of the Terrier net, where she knocked her shot in to put the Trojans on top, 1-0.

Feldman said the opportunity was at least partially made possible because of a close no-call on what could have been an offsides play.

‘It was pretty close to being offsides,’ Feldman said. ‘It was a misplay by us if she was onside or a misplay by the lines-person if she was offsides. If we didn’t take care of business holding the line tighter, then too bad for us.’

BU fought hard to get back in the game, but got just one shot on goal in the second half. With 7:15 left in the game, Nick lined up a shot from just beyond the penalty stripe and buried the ball ‘-‘- along with the Terriers’ season ‘-‘- in the back of the net.

According to Feldman, the 2-0 loss does little to damper the Terriers’ successful year, which featured a fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament visit and the first undefeated conference season in America East since 2000.

The Terrier players thought BU had the talent to make it to the NCAA’s third round or further, and Feldman said playing into next week was a goal of the squad.

However, when the team found out Monday that instead of getting a local contest in the tournament’s opening round they had been sent to Provo, Utah, Feldman said the team was mildly shocked and upset.

‘It was disappointing that we got shipped out,’ Feldman said of having to make the 2,372-mile trip to Provo. ‘We’re not going to cry to anybody on the NCAA committee . . . but we felt all along this year in the polls that the NCAA didn’t really show us the respect.’

The corner of the bracket where Feldman and the Terriers felt they belonged will be played at Boston College’s Newton Field. Among the four teams slated to play their opening games at Newton are BC, Central Connecticut State University, Harvard University and Northeastern University.

According to Feldman, the Terriers felt that they, and not Northeastern ‘-‘- which won the Colonial Athletic Association conference tournament after entering as a No. 6 seed ‘-‘- or CCSU, whose RPI placed them 78 spots behind the 55th-ranked Terriers, had earned the right to stay in the region.

‘I think for the players, it might have been disappointing because I think for them, the measuring stick was getting to the third round,’ Feldman said. ‘We feel confident that if we were in the bracket in Boston, we had a real good shot at getting to the third round. With those teams, we feel like we matched up really well with BC, Harvard and Northeastern.

‘But here’s the thing ‘-‘- we can measure our performance as a program by how we play. We can measure that by looking at how we played [last night], and comparing it to how we played last year in the NCAA Tournament [a first-round loss to fourth-seeded Wake Forest University, 2-1], compared to the year before that and compared to the year before that, and I know I can look anybody in the eye and say, ‘We have made significant strides in our ability to perform at this level.”

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