The Boston University men’s soccer team will look to hold onto the momentum from its first win of the season when the team plays Princeton University on Tuesday at Nickerson Field.
Over the weekend, the Terriers (1-5) were able to secure their first win of the season against Harvard University. Senior back Adam Sheikali found the back of the net before the end of the first half — his second goal of his career — and freshman goalkeeper William Bonnelyche made two key saves in the last two minutes of the contest.
BU head coach Neil Roberts said that his team has not found its stride yet, but is taking steps in the right direction.
“We’re still in the middle of a process,” Roberts said. “We’re not there yet, but the last two games have definitely been a step forward for us so we just hope we will keep continuing that.”
While Princeton (0-3-1) has gotten off to a slower start to its season, but the team’s overall record can be deceiving. The Tigers have not lost by a margin of more than one goal this season and held then No. 8 Syracuse University to a 1-1 tie in double overtime.
Despite having 15 shots, eight of which were on goal, Princeton most recently fell to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville after redshirt sophomore forward TC Hull head-butted the ball into the goal with 15 seconds remaining in the game.
The challenge for the Terriers lies in the fact that Princeton’s offense can create opportunities for itself and have shot 45.5 percent of its goals on target.
Senior defender James Reiner has scored two goals this season, but senior midfielder Daniel Bowkett has posted 12 shots and one assist. These two players will likely pose a threat to BU’s defense and Bonnelyche in goal.
Roberts said that his team will need to match Princeton’s aggressiveness like they did over the weekend against Harvard (1-3-1).
“I think against UMass and against Harvard they were pretty good at [matching the team’s aggressiveness],” Roberts said. “So I think that if we can match that, Princeton is a very aggressive team, I think that will be good and hopefully we can play a little bit better.”
The Terriers will look to utilize their offensive players against the Tigers’ defense, which has let in 1.75 goals per game.
Sophomore forward Matt McDonnell has notched 10 shots with two on goal yet has not found himself converting his shots into goals.
Roberts said that his team, like Princeton, has been unable to utilize its opportunities.
“We’re kind of in the same situation that we’re creating some stuff and then making some mistakes on the other end that are making it difficult for us to win,” Roberts said. “So hopefully we’ve done a better job at stopping that in the last couple of games and that will be a trend going forward.”
This matchup will mark the fourth consecutive year BU and Princeton have played each other. Last season the Tigers shuffled out a 2-1 win at home and owns a 2-0-1 record against the Terriers.
This game also comes right before Patriot League games begin for BU and will serve as a sign for where the team must improve if they want to find themselves with another conference tournament bid. The Terriers will travel to play American University over the weekend for its first conference game of the season.
“Tomorrow will be a good indication as to can we put three games together in a pretty consistent effort-wise and a smart effort,” Roberts said.