After a tightly contested 83 minutes, the Boston University women’s soccer team scored the only goal of the match against the United States Naval Academy at Nickerson Field on Saturday afternoon.
The win is BU’s (5-6, 2-1 Patriot League) second in divisional play and came against the preseason favorite Midshipmen (4-4-3, 1-2 PL).
“It started with our defending,” BU head coach Casey Brown said. “We were organized and really gritty in moments when we needed to be and I thought (we) did a good job of keeping a real potent attack relatively quiet.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Celia Braun still had plenty of work to do even with that good defending, but she handled the challenges well. The biggest challenge of the first half came with less than a minute to play when a penalty was called on BU after a last-ditch tackle in the box. Navy’s junior forward Kat Healey sent in a decent effort, but Braun guessed correctly and dove to her left, collecting her third save of the half.
“The pressure is always on the shooter, so I tend to not get nervous in those situations, simply knowing that they’re supposed to score it,” Braun said. “I just really tried to stick with my decision which I made before she shot.”
The second half was more open with both teams combining for seven shots in just the first 11 minutes. Despite that, both Navy junior goalkeeper Mattie Gallagher and Braun were up to the task as the game remained scoreless.
BU’s best chance at breaking the deadlock came in the 78th minute when the second penalty of the game was called, this time in their favor. Redshirt senior forward Amy Thompson, who had plenty of chances at goal throughout the game yet nothing to show for it, was called into action. Thompson’s kick was well-placed towards the bottom right corner, but just too slow as Gallagher beat the ball to the spot.
Thompson would have a chance to redeem herself just seven minutes later when junior forward Abigail McNulty cut through Navy’s defense down the right flank and found Thompson unmarked in the middle of the box. Thompson stopped the ball with a deft touch, turned, and fired it just inside the left upright past a diving Gallagher, giving BU the 1-0 advantage.
“We, as a team, kept pushing it. We were on the doorstep all game and we just put it away at the end,” Thompson said. “This will be an exciting season.”
The Terriers will continue Patriot League play by hosting Lehigh University next Saturday at 1 p.m.