The Boston University women’s soccer team beat the United States Naval Academy 1-0 on Sept. 24 at Nickerson Field. The Terriers (5-6, 2-1 Patriot League) continue conference play against Lehigh University on Oct. 1 in hopes of racking up their third Patriot League win of the season. The season has been one of ups-and-downs, but one word underlines it all: growth.
Suffering the road stretch
The Terriers only played two games at Nickerson Field in September, which occurred on opposite ends of the month. In that stretch of four games on the road, the Terriers went 2-2. Although they did not win every game, head coach Casey Brown said she is proud of how her team managed the elongated road trip both on and off the field.
“(It’s) a challenge, and I’m really proud of the way the girls have approached that,” said Brown. “They’ve been very diligent with their recovery and their preparation,”
The first of two road games were against non-conference opponents, while the latter two opened up Patriot League play. This included a win at Lafayette College and a loss at Colgate University.
“It’s difficult to go (against) another conference opponent on the road and get some points,” said Brown. “The resiliency and the quality that we showed at Lafayette was awesome and I think really speaks to the group and what we’re about.”
With games in New Hampshire, New York and Pennsylvania, the Terriers spent a lot of time traveling in a short period of time. However, the Terriers managed to weather the storm without any change in their win percentage.
“It’s a lot on our student-athletes in terms of sleep and recovery,” said Brown. “I’m very proud of them in terms of how we prepared for that, very professional.” said Brown.
Veteran leadership crucial for production from young players
The production from underclassmen has played a big role in helping the Terriers with their five wins this season. Freshman midfielder Giulianna Gianino’s three goals this season is tied for most on the team.
“We have a really positive freshman class that is contributing in a lot of ways,” said Brown. “Obviously on game day (they’re) finding the back of the net and helping us play our brand of BU soccer.”
Sophomore forward Morgan Fagan has scored three goals to go along with her seven points, another tie for team-best. Sophomore goalkeeper Celia Braun has also contributed with 15 saves in seven starts this season.
The leadership from the veterans on the Terriers has been vital to the success of the younger players. Experience is key for leadership as BU’s ten seniors are paving the way for the next generation.
“We’re very lucky to have a very strong veteran group and senior group,” said Brown. “They have been terrific and set the standard for younger players. They have experience and know what it takes.”
Coach Brown’s first season as head coach
Brown’s tenure as the head coach of the BU women’s soccer team began in June when she was named the second head coach in the history of the program. Brown took over for longtime, inaugural head coach Nancy Feldman, who retired in April after her 27th season leading the Terriers.
Brown came into the season focused on rebuilding the team as her own, both on the field and off.
“We’ve just been trying to get to know each other and build relationships and really have a strong, cohesive unit going forward,” said Brown.
Rather than immediately expecting success, Brown looks for improvement and growth on a day-to-day basis.
“I wanted to approach this and be really growth-minded and try to have us get better every day, try to have us get better every match, and help us reach our fullest potential,” Brown said.
Going forward, Brown plans on preaching the philosophy she came into the season with: steadily building and improving.
“We want to put ourselves in a position to win a championship, but a championship is not won in September,” said Brown. “It’s won one game at a time.”