The top two seeds in the Patriot League faced off at Nickerson Field on Saturday afternoon, and an early long-shot goal was all Bucknell University needed to defeat Boston University 1-0.
The loss marked the end of the Terriers’ (9-7, 5-2 PL) five-game win streak in which they conceded only one goal. The Bison (8-5-2, 5-1-1 PL) now sit atop the conference.
The contest began with both teams evenly working down the other’s defense, but the Bison broke through in under five minutes. Bucknell sophomore midfielder Teresa Deda fired a shot from just outside the box that was deflected towards the goal. Sophomore goalkeeper Celia Braun stretched and lept but could not stop the ball from floating into the back of the net.
The goal seemed to take the wind out of the Terriers’ sails. They struggled for much of the first half to string together consistent offense, which Boston University head coach Casey Brown attributed to Bucknell’s defensive solidity in the midfield.
“The first half was a bit transitional,” Brown said. “I don’t think that suits us as much as it suits them, so we wanted to try to settle down and get on the ball more and circulate it and involve some of our center [midfielders].”
Despite Bucknell forcing the Terriers to play a style that they were not used to, they did generate some offensive movement down the right wing. Redshirt senior forward Jenna Oldham and junior midfielder Lily Matthews made good runs and passes, but the Bison always seemed to have an answer.
The second half was similar to the first, with both teams relying on solid defense to stop the counterattacks and breakouts coming off of turnovers in the midfield. Outside of a few miscues in the first half, the entire Boston University backline played well, particularly senior defender Ashley Buck.
“Our defensive organization had a huge emphasis coming into this game, and our team honestly defended them really tough and well,” Brown said. “We deterred a lot of opportunities that they were able to create.”
While the Terriers were able to get into the attacking half with regularity, they just could not generate good looks at the goal. The few times they did, all it took was a misplaced pass or a few too many seconds on the ball for Bucknell to shut down the scoring opportunity.
“It wasn’t our best performance, and I think we can continue to generate more good attacking opportunities in the final third,” Brown said. “It’s something we’ll look at in film and continue to work and build towards for the next one.”
With two in-conference games left, the Terriers are still alive in the chase for the top spot in the PL as they are only one point back from frontrunners Bucknell and the United States Military Academy. The first of those two games is on Saturday at 2 p.m. when the Terriers will travel to Loyola University Maryland.