Boston University’s men’s soccer season ended in the semifinal round of the Patriot League semi-final matchup as the team lost in penalty kicks to the United States Naval Academy after going scoreless through regulation and 20 minutes of overtime. It was the Terriers’ (6-5-7, 4-2-3 PL) first appearance in the playoffs in over three years and the first-ever meeting between the two teams in the playoffs.
“It’s a cruel way to go,” head coach Kevin Nylen said after the game. “Somebody’s gonna walk home a winner, and somebody’s gonna walk home a loser. It’s hard when it gets to that point.”
BU kept possession of the ball for much of the game, giving Navy (6-4-9, 3-1-5 PL) little chance to create offensive opportunities. However, BU couldn’t come up with an answer when it came to scoring despite having ample opportunities to find the back of the net, including 13 corner kicks throughout the game.
Junior midfielder Andrew Rent, senior midfielder Colin Innes, sophomore midfielder Daniel Kim and the rest of the offense gave it their all out on the pitch, collecting a combined 13 shots and two shots on goal.
BU’s defense — including senior defenders Gianluca Aroltti and Griffin Roach and graduate student defender Evan Morrison — all held well against Navy’s limited offensive opportunities, pressuring them to shoot at uncomfortable angles and stealing the ball away. This left senior goalkeeper and Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Francesco Montali with little to defend against. He faced only two shots in regulation and overtime as he waited for time to expire before heading into the shootout.
During the shootout, the game came down to the wire. At first, the situation looked dire for the Terries after senior midfielder Quinn Matulis missed the first shot, bouncing it off the left goal post. Both teams traded goals until the fourth matchup, where Montali made a save to make things even. BU’s seventh and eighth shots were taken by freshman defender Quin DeLaMater and junior midfielder Aidan Holmes, who both had not made an appearance in the game until then. It all came down to Rent in the ninth round.
He kicked the ball over the crossbar, ending the season for the Terriers.
Even though the season closed out on such a sour note, Nylen still praised his players.
“Look at our guys,” Nylen said. “They put everything into it. Everything we’ve asked of them to do since last year when our season ended to current day has been unbelievable. They haven’t wavered and (I’m) really proud to work with them.”