In the first showing of the year’s Turnpike Trophy series, the Boston University women’s soccer team bested the College of the Holy Cross 3-1 on Wednesday night in Worcester.
While the Terriers (6-10-1, 6-1 Patriot League) continue to impressively move on from their unprecedented September woes, the Crusaders (2-11-2, 1-4-2 Patriot League) are still struggling to dig themselves out of the bottom two spots in league play. Holy Cross finds itself at the bottom of the Patriot League standings alongside American University.
The matchup, between two foes separated by a mere 47 miles, is the eighth between the two teams. With Wednesday night’s victory, BU now owns a 7-1-0 all-time record against the Crusaders.
For BU coach Nancy Feldman, a familiar face was coaching Holy Cross — former BU defender and associate head coach, Casey Brown.
Feldman drew similarities between Brown’s coaching style and her own, particularly on defense. This is predictable, given that Brown was a three-time Defender of the Year at BU when the Terriers were still a part of the America East Conference.
“It was certainly a little difficult,” Feldman said. “We wanted to play our best game, but we love and care about her so much that we wanted them to play their best game as well.”
More than anything, Feldman appreciates the work her protégé has dedicated to the sport.
“I’m very proud of Casey,” Feldman said. “She works really hard and has committed herself to being a great coach.”
After an opening 36 minutes in which both teams combined for 11 shots, four of which were on target, a breakthrough occurred one minute later.
Behind strong play in the box from sophomore defender Chelsea Churchill, the Carlsbad, California native sent one from deep in the box and found the upper 90 to give BU a 1-0 lead in the 37th minute.
This marked Churchill’s first goal of the season, but she wasn’t done there.
Five minutes later, Churchill found herself in a similar circumstance and was able to add to her career night by tallying her second goal of the game and equaling her scoring production from last season.
The second half saw much of the same aggressiveness from the Terriers as they capitalized on several Crusader miscues.
In the 57th minute, junior midfielder Jesse Shreck took an errant Holy Cross pass and put it in the back of the net for her third goal of the season and her eighth point in the last six games.
The insurance goal, which put the Terriers up 3-0, brought the upperclassman even with sophomore forward McKenna Doyle as the team’s leaders in goals (three) and points (eight).
After scoring a mere two goals in its opening 10 contests, BU has now recorded at least two goals in each of its last four matches.
The Terriers’ chance at a shutout victory ended when Crusaders defender Allie Neumann salvaged a goal by sliding it through BU junior goalkeeper Hannah Ciolek at the 84-minute mark to cut the deficit to 3-1.
“You can already see the effects [Coach Brown] has had on the program,” Feldman said. “Those girls play hard for her.”
In net, Feldman stuck with her familiar strategy of splitting time between senior Bridget Conway and Ciolek.
Playing the first 45 minutes, Conway made two saves and conceded no goals for the seventh straight game, while Ciolek made one save and allowed in the lone Neumann strike in the second half.
The Terriers have two games left in Patriot League play, with their next contest on Saturday vs. the United States Military Academy. BU is fighting for a chance to secure the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament over rival Bucknell University, which stands undefeated atop the conference standings.