Boston University women’s soccer team ended their season with a heart-wrenching semi-finals shootout loss against Bucknell University.
“It was a really hard fought battle,” head coach Casey Brown said. “I have nothing but immense pride for the way we played, the way we competed, the opportunities and chances we created. Just nothing but pride in the way we played.”
The Terriers made the first move with a corner kick off the foot of redshirt senior forward Jenna Oldham less than a minute into the game. Sophomore forward Morgan Fagan tried to capitalize on the opportunity, but Bucknell junior goalkeeper Jenna Hall was able to make the stop.
Bucknell answered the Terrier’s early offensive push with a strong kick from senior forward Rylee Donaldson in the fifth minute.
Bucknell countered with a corner kick by sophomore midfielder Teresa Deda in the 14th minute, resulting in a shot by Deda herself.
After a shot in quick succession from Terrier freshman midfielder Giulianna Gianino, the Bison began an offensive onslaught. Bucknell shot for the goal three times in the span of five minutes, and sophomore goalkeeper Celia Braun made every save.
“(The defense was) terrific. They were absolutely terrific,” Brown said. “There’s tactical things. There’s individual battles. But overall, the collective mentality defensively was really, really strong.”
Terrier senior forward Marli Rajacich attempted a last-ditch shot on goal in the final 34 seconds of the half. Hall once again made the stop en route to a seven-save performance.
Boston University entered the second half on the attack with redshirt senior Amy Thompson making the first attempt to score in the 59th minute.
Both teams got aggressive in the 67th minute, with a combined four shots made in quick succession.
The Terriers had a solid chance to score in the 69th minute, but Bucknell got the ball back. Deda kicked a roller towards the net, but second-half Terrier senior goalkeeper Gretchen Bennett made a sliding dive in order to knock the ball away from the post. Bennett and Braun combined for 11 total saves.
Boston was able to make an attempt on offense in the 77th minute with a corner kick. However, Bucknell maintained control of the ball with another corner kick and two more shots right after.
Donaldson tried to seal the win for Bucknell in the 90th minute, but her shot was blocked. The Terriers had one final push in their attacking third, but were unable to notch the game-winner, sending the game to overtime tied at zero.
The first 10-minute overtime period was quiet with no shots made by either team.
The second overtime period, however, started the exact opposite way. Within the first three minutes, the Bison had two consecutive shots. The Bison made three more shots in the period of play —The Terriers made none.
Bennett’s heroics continued with a diving save in the 108th minute, knocking the ball away from the corner of the net. That save sent the game into a shootout at 0-0 to determine which team would move on to the Patriot League Championship.
“It was an unbelievable save,” Brown said. “She likes the moments and the big moments if she can come up big, and I thought she did.”
Both teams missed their first shots, keeping tensions high. Ultimately, the Terriers would go on to make three penalty kicks out of five. Bucknell, on the other hand, made their remaining four, sending themselves to the championship.
The season ended in heartbreaking fashion, but Brown was still able to get Boston University to the semifinals in her first season with the team.
“I’ve enjoyed the journey with these girls so much, and I’m extremely proud of the program,” said Brown. “We came up a little bit short. We want to be winning championships … but again, I’m proud of everyone on this team.”