After seven straight matches, the Boston University women’s soccer team’s unbeaten streak came to an end at the hands of Harvard University on Tuesday night at Nickerson Field when it fell, 2-1.
This match was a tale of two halves, as the Terriers (5-5-3, 3-0-1 Patriot League) outshot the Crimson (5-6-1) 10-2 in the first 45 minutes of the game, going into the second half with a one-goal lead. But the next frame of the match was a different story.
“We played great in the first half,” said BU coach Nancy Feldman. “We moved the ball and maybe needed to get another goal in there because we had a lot at play.”
The Terriers looked patient, sharp and precise on offense and dominated Harvard on defense throughout the first frame.
The first goal of the game came from sophomore forward Christina Wakefield on a header off a beautiful set-piece cross from junior defender Rachel Bloznalis in the ninth minute. She was the eleventh Terrier to score a goal so far this season.
The key to victory for the Crimson was forward Margaret Purce. She was all over the field, using her speed to beat Terrier defenders all night. The Olney, Maryland, native eventually put in Harvard’s first goal in the 60th minute off a through pass from fellow forward Rachel Garcia to tie the score at one.
“She’s a national youth team player, and there’s a reason for it,” Feldman said of Purce. “She is the fastest player we will play all year. Once she gets a step or even if you’re even, she pulls away.”
The difference in the match, and what eventually was the final goal, was a beautiful strike from Garcia in the 64th minute. After her tally, the Terriers could not get anything going offensively, which led to their demise.
Because this was a non-conference game, Feldman and her coaching staff got the chance to look at players who might not play often in Patriot League games and those who will be future starters for the Terriers. Taking advantage of this, Feldman brought in junior backup goalkeeper Bridget Conway for the second half, giving senior Alyssa Parisi a chance to rest. Through the final 45 minutes, Conway made four saves, but also gave up both goals.
“She’s done everything we’ve asked of her and [we] wanted to give her some experience,” Feldman said. “There’s nothing better than game experience. She handled herself well and did alright distribution-wise. She just has to feel out games. I wouldn’t change my decision and I don’t think it made a difference on the outcome of the game.”
Although switching goalies may not have impacted the game’s outcome, this was the first time the Terriers have given up two goals since Sept. 3.
Feldman noted that BU simply lost its way in the second half, and focus needs to be better for the team to get back in the win column when they travel to Easton, Pennsylvania, to take on Lafayette College on Saturday.
“You may feel like you have charge of a match, but a match is 90 minutes,” Feldman said. “One, two or even three-goal leads don’t matter much, because if you start chasing the game and the other team gets momentum it’s hard. You can’t defend for 45 minutes and expect you’re going to have a good result.”