Soccer, Sports

Women’s soccer looking to continue strong Patriot League performance

Julianna Chen and the Terriers will take on the College of the Holy Cross at Nickerson Field. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/ DFP FILE PHOTO

Entering Patriot League play, the Boston University women’s soccer team had been through the wringer.

Having gone five games without notching a victory, the Terriers (3-5-3, 1-0-1 Patriot League) stood at 1-5-2 heading into their home matchup against American University on Sept. 16.

However, the Terriers reversed course in this matchup and broke through the ice, knocking off the Eagles, 6-0 (1-9, 0-3 Patriot League). This momentum carried into their most recent pair of contests, as they defeated Dartmouth College, 1-0, last Tuesday on Julianna Chen’s second goal of the season before tying with Lehigh University on Saturday for their second scoreless tie of the year.

Now, the team will attempt to continue this shutout streak as they host the College of the Holy Cross on Wednesday night at Nickerson Field.

“I like the way we are playing,” BU head coach Nancy Feldman said. “I think our mentality is good. I see us trending in the right direction as far as how we are becoming a unit defensively and offensively.”

The Crusaders (2-5-2, 0-1-1 Patriot League) enter the contest in the middle of the pack in the Patriot League in terms of scoring. The squad has netted 1.11 goals per game, good for sixth in the conference, while putting up the eighth-most points per game in the league.

However, the team has relied on an aggressive attack, averaging the third-most shots on goal per outing, substantially higher than the Terriers’ five shots on goal per game.

The Crusaders will be matched by a strong BU defense, a unit that has allowed just 1.11 goals per game, the third-lowest average in the Patriot League.

“Championship play starts with the commitment to defending as a team,” Feldman said. “We are growing in that department. The effort has always been there, but I think we are more cohesive and coordinated in our efforts.”

Despite failing to put the ball in the net, the Terriers controlled the pace of the contest against the Mountain Hawks. They outshot Lehigh 16 to 13. The Terriers made life difficult for Lehigh goalkeeper Sam Miller, who was forced to make eight saves in 110 minutes of action compared with just two saves needed by BU goalkeeper Amanda Fay.

“[Defense] is a commitment by everybody,” Feldman said. “It starts with the individual, given her quality of individual defending and role in the moment. It’s groups of players being in unison and being good in critical moments. That could be high in the field, not allowing a team to [an odd-numbered chance].”

BU forced the issue offensively, securing the lone corner kick in the second overtime which signified either team’s best opportunity at garnering a goal in the game.

So far this season, the Terriers are fourth in the Patriot League with 1.18 goals per game and 3.36 points per night.

“We are being more aggressive in attack,” Feldman said. “We still have things to refine to create better chances but I like the way we are approaching our possessions and the final-third attack. We have turned it up a notch as far as our aggressiveness.”

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