Soccer, Sports

First things first

Senior Jin Oh scored his second consecutive game-winning goal to lead the Boston University men’s soccer team to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 1-0 win Friday over Farleigh Dickinson University (13-6-2) at Nickerson Field.

After the Terriers (12-5-3) turned up the heat ‘-‘- figuratively, not literally ‘-‘- toward the end of the first half, sophomore Matt Shea found a streaking Oh in box. Shea crossed the ball to Oh, who beat diving FDU goalkeeper Majdi Zaineh to his left side.

‘We got the ball wide ‘-‘- that was what the key was,’ BU coach Neil Roberts said. ‘We were trying to get balls over the top and finally Matt Shea played it to Jin. We felt that we could have some success there, but we didn’t really play any [balls]. Jin made a good run and Matt delivered the ball. We were fortunate.’

Oh, playing in what was most likely his final game on the Nickerson turf, scored his second game-winner and third goal of the postseason. Oh has scored in all three postseason games thus far for the Terriers.

Despite the chilly temperatures and strong wind gusts, the Terriers were able to play the kind of game that has won them five straight and earned them a 10-game unbeaten streak.

The Terriers came out striking, with seven shots in the first half to the Knights’ one. In the first five minutes alone, the Terriers had three different chances that were poked away by the FDU defense.

Although the Terrier offense continuously chipped away at the Knight defense, it was the midfield play and BU’s defense that won them the game.

‘We knew that the midfield was going to be the key to winning ‘-‘- to try to stop them from getting any good services into [Samson Malijani] and [Paul King],’ Roberts said.

Senior Dan Schultz anchored the Terrier backline, shutting down the second-leading scorer in the nation. Schultz held junior Knight Malijani to just one shot ‘-‘- an impressive feat, as Malijani scored 18 goals and notched 41 points this season.

FDU’s other top scorer, freshman Paul King has 20 points on the season, but the Terrier defense held him to just one shot on goal.

‘All three backs were marking up very well on [Malijani] and [King],’ Schultz said. ‘We were doing a good job of not letting them get looks at goal. In the second half they were throwing a lot of guys forward, so we switched formation to a 4-4-2 from a 3-5-2 so we had a couple more guys back to take the pressure.’

After a 3-0 loss to the University at Albany to begin the conference schedule, the Terrier defense has allowed just three goals in its last 10 games. Schultz attributes the success to improved communication between the backline and the midfield.

FDU coach Seth Roland had nothing but praise for BU after the game, recognizing its organization and athleticism.

‘BU is a very good team, very solid defensively and very dangerous in attack,’ Roland said. ‘I felt we did some decent things in attack, but at the end of the day we weren’t quite sharp enough. We weren’t quite good enough to make that one play or two plays that get you a goal. I attribute much of that to BU’s quality of a team. Someone had to lose. Tonight it was us. I give them a lot of credit.’

The Terriers travel to No. 3 St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y., Tuesday for the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

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