Soccer, Sports

Men’s soccer gets first win of the young season

Junior Matt McDonell leads the team in goals with five so far this season, including two in Friday’s win against UMass. PHOTO BY FELIX PHILLIPS/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University Men’s Soccer team shocked the University of Massachusetts Amherst Friday night, coming from behind to win 3-2. BU (1-2-1) scored twice within 34 seconds of each other late in the game to nab its first win of the season.

The Terriers started on the front foot, getting a few early crosses in to get UMass redshirt freshman goalkeeper Trey Miller involved.

The best of those early chances came for junior midfielder Matt McDonnell, who is two games removed from a hat trick against local rivals Boston College. The ball was swung in from the right side, and Miller was just able to get the ball out before McDonnell could get his head onto it at the back post.

BU head coach Neil Roberts was very complimentary of McDonnell, not just for his work in the attacking half, but the defensive side of things as well.

“He prepared very, very well physically and mentally,” Roberts said. “He had been hurt last year, and it was a tough year for him. It’s not just the goals which we’ll obviously take, but the ability to knock balls off, to hold balls and once we got the lead, he was playing in the midfield as a defensive player.”

The Minutemen (2-2-2) settled into the game within the game’s first 10 minutes. They found the back of the net in the seventh minute, but the goal was called back for offside.

UMass had another goal denied by the linesman’s flag in the 16th minute.

The Minutemen made a change at the 28 minute mark and brought on senior forward DeAndrae Brown, and he made a near-immediate impact.

Senior defender Ben Valek and sophomore goalkeeper William Bonnelyche both had to deal with a long ball over the top that Brown was almost able to use his pace to latch onto.

UMass broke the deadlock in the 41st minute, finally capitalizing on the many chances it created from the right side of the pitch, and until they finally capitalized on one.

Minutemen defender Dylan Cranmer came up from his deep position and was able to get into good crossing position before senior forward Jack Fulton beat Bonnelyche.

UMass was deserved leaders at the half, as the Terriers only had one shot.

Roberts said he wanted his team to tone down the physicality at the half.

“We just fouled too much in their half of the field,” Roberts said. “We possessed the ball, we got it from side to side, it was good to see.”

BU got a shot on goal in the 51st minute, McDonnell sending it through the air again. However, his header was straight at Miller.

McDonnell struck again in the 56th minute and equalized the game. The goal came via a free kick which was drilled in low towards McDonnell who hammered a shot into the back of the net.

The match official took out his yellow card and showed it to UMass forward Davis Smith and then to Terrier midfielder Mana Chavali just over a minute later.

The Minutemen retook the lead from a corner. The ball was sent by Fulton to the back post and flicked back across the face of goal by Davis Smith. From there, it was a tap-in for senior defender Brandon Merklin in the 63rd minute.

BU responded well with some possession, but hadn’t yet created an equalizing attempt with 20 minutes left to play.

Miller made a save to deny McDonnell of his second goal of the night, sprawling to get a hand on a header, and was able to push it onto the crossbar.

McDonnell would not be denied, however, as he pounced on a rebound in the 84th minute to level the match for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

And then, 34 seconds later freshman midfielder Kari Petursson tested Miller from way downtown.

Miller may have been expecting a cross from the Iceland native Petursson and was left scrambling backwards, and attempted unsuccessfully to keep the ball out of the back of the net.

The ball tipped off his gloves and into the back of the net to give the Terriers the lead.

Roberts said he was proud with how his team fought back from a tough position against a good team.

“To get even — and then we gave up the confusion goal — so now, all of the sudden, we were down again,” Roberts said. “The kids fought back and got to 2-2, and then Kari [Petursson] went for goal — it was a very experienced play from a young kid.”

The goal was Petursson’s first as a Terrier.

The Minutemen could not trouble the BU defense late on, and the Terriers got their first victory of the season, 3-2.

Roberts stated post-game that he was glad to get off the mark at home, in term of scoring and winning.

“We’re kind of still finding ourselves,” Roberts said. “It’s not where we wanted to be, but I think the fight and the character of the group is good.”

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