The Boston University men’s soccer team competed in an electrifying double-overtime thriller at Nickerson Field Saturday. The 1-1 draw with Army West Point concluded the Terriers’ shortened four-game regular season.
“Just a tough, tough game, and credit to Army in terms of what they did,” BU head coach Kevin Nylen said at the press conference Saturday. “I’m really happy for the guys and the resiliency that they showed.”
The Terriers entered Saturday’s matchup looking for vengeance, as the team previously suffered close losses at the hands of the Black Knights in their last two games against one other in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, that loss — via penalty shootout — eliminated the Terriers’ from the Patriot League tournament.
Fueled by those defeats, as well as a hope for a potential tournament in sight, the Terriers put pressure on the Black Knights from both ends of the field from the opening kickoff.
The Black Knights initiated an aggressive offense to start the game. With its unit coming out in full attack-mode, defenders sophomore D’Anthony Brown and freshman Nick Atkinson both had attempts on goal early on, putting the Terriers defense on its heels.
However, even with the pressure the Black Knights offense was forcing on the Terriers, BU was prepared to respond.
The goal attempts were saved by senior goalkeeper Michael Stone, and the Terriers utilized one of their most lethal offensive threats in sophomore forward Ronaldo Marshall.
Marshall, who leads the team with three goals, capitalized on a transition with a goal on a direct cross from senior forward Zion Balogun a little more than three minutes into the first period.
“A good early goal, and that took us for the most part of the game,” Nylen said. “It’s been good for [Marshall] to come in this semester and find some confidence in scoring goals.”
Victory seemed to be at the doorstep for BU, as the Terriers’ gritty defense would eventually hold the Black Knights scoreless for the next 80 minutes of the game. However, a costly foul against BU in the final 10 minutes would allow a penalty kick by Army junior midfielder Carter Kowalewski to tie the game at one and move the match into overtime.
As the second period drew to a close, the game began to take a toll on the Terriers, leaving the squad shorthanded and forced to make substitutions.
“It’s a tough one because we were under,” Nylen said. “We were down players and we were physically at a tough moment towards the end of the game.”
Despite being short-handed, the Terriers hung on with scrappy defense to prevent the opposing unit from scoring — a tug-of-war of grit and grind between both teams.
“We conceded a set piece in eight minutes left and got to crawl and fight for the rest of the time,” Nylen said. “Really proud of the guys to get through that.”
After 20 minutes of double overtime, the game concluded with a 1-1 draw.
Although the game may have ended in a draw and potentially disqualified the Terriers from the Patriot League tournament, the team honored graduating seniors George Abunaw and Balogun for Senior Day.
Nylen highlighted the veteran impact and leadership the two brought to the team throughout the course of the season.
“George and Zion have been great with the group, just in terms of how they interact with the guys,” he said. “Being able to listen and not always just talk … Really glad to have been able to be around those guys, and they’ve had a really good impression within the group.”