Three straight 1-0 results have put the Boston University men’s soccer team at 0-3 heading into the fourth game of the season as the team looks to get on the scoreboard and in the win column on Tuesday against Merrimack College (1-0), which started a full athletics program transition to the division one level this season.
The Terriers (0-3) will return to Nickerson Field in Boston to take on the neighboring Warriors (1-0) from North Andover after a crushing 1-0 defeat by the University of Massachusetts Amherst on Saturday.
Despite the tough-luck loss, BU head coach Neil Roberts was confident after the game that his team was making strides forward and keeping their heads up.
“The kids are fighting hard, they’re working hard,” Roberts said. “They played pretty well on Saturday, so it’s a little disappointing that they didn’t get a result, but the morale is pretty good.”
Roberts emphasized possession of the ball in order to limit offensive chances for their opponents and that the Terriers executed it well against the Minutemen, holding them to only two shots on goal. But, in typical sports nature, the team that was being dominated for the majority of the game ended up scored the game-winning goal.
The Terriers made large strides to improve in their latest game against a great opponent, down from six by Boston College and a whopping 11 shots by No. 22 New Hampshire.
Roberts said the defensive players are playing well and it’s now up to the offense to improve.
“The last game we didn’t let up very many opportunities so that was good,” Roberts said. “Our possession against Massachusetts was very good, so now it’s a matter of offensively creating more chances.”
Scouting the Warriors
Merrimack has only played their division one debut thus far, but in the one game they have played they defeated Northeastern 2-1 with second half goals coming from freshman back Marc Torrellas and sophomore Tola Showunmi.
Last season, sophomore attacker Showunmi was the team’s leading scorer with seven goals along with junior forward Filippo Begliardi Ghidini who also scored seven goals and tallied 15 points last season.
Patrolling the goal line will most likely be graduate student goalkeeper Lucas Rezende, who is playing on his last year of eligibility due to injuries keeping him from playing in the 2018 and 2016 seasons. When Rezende has been healthy he’s been fantastic in the net, earning Northeast-10 conference honors as the goalkeeper of the year on his way to earning 11 shutouts in the 2017 season.
The Warriors went 13-6 last season, however those were division two opponents, so it is difficult to read into how the program will make its transition into the highest level.
This is the first-ever matchup between BU and Merrimack and it’s the Terriers’ first match versus a Northeast Conference opponent since 2008, when BU lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to Northeast Conference champions Fairleigh Dickinson 1-0.
While the matchup might be unfamiliar to fans, Roberts said the team has experience against Merrimack and has a deep roster.
“They’re a good team, we’ve played them in the spring a couple times,” Roberts said. “They’ve got some very talented players … they’re not intimidated by moving up to division one, we just have to worry about what we need to do.”