Soccer, Sports

Bust-ing out: M. soccer rookie nabs pair of yearly honors

Freshman midfielder Michael Bustamante was named America East Rookie of the Year and Midfielder of the Year on Wednesday, making him just the fourth player in conference history to garner two end-of-the-year awards.

Bustamante ranks first on the Terriers (9-5-3, 6-1-1 AE) with eight assists this season and is second in points with 12. His assist total is good for third in the conference. The Chelsea, Mass., native defends BU’s crowns in both categories, as current sophomore Aaron O’Neal won the rookie honor last year and current pro Neil Hlavaty was named the top midfielder.

Despite flying around the offensive zone and consistently looking like one of the top players on the field, Bustamante failed to record a point in his first six collegiate games. He broke out of the scoreless slump with a two-assist performance in a 4-2 win over Colgate University on Sept. 20.

Two games later, he netted his first career goal in a 5-1 win over Harvard University. Other highlights of his regular season included the lone tally in a 1-0 win at Stony Brook University and assists on both goals in a 2-0 defeat of Binghamton University.

Bustamante and senior captain and back Dan Schultz were named to the AE All-Conference First Team, while junior forward Shaun Taylor and junior midfielders Samuel Appiah and Richy Dorman were named to the second team. Freshman back Colin Henry joined Bustamante on the All-Rookie Team, while BU coach Neil Roberts and his staff were named the Coaching Staff of the Year.

Shutdown backs

After being plagued by careless mistakes and miscommunication throughout the first half of the season, BU’s defense, led by Schultz and senior goalkeeper Hrafn Davidsson, went into lockdown mode for the last month of the regular season. The Terriers held opponents to just two goals over their final seven games, going 6-0-1 during that span.

Davidsson, who tied for third in the conference with seven shutouts in the regular season, has recorded a .909 save percentage over that stretch ‘-‘- well above his season average of .779.

A key for the defensive success has been BU’s ability to shut down the opposing team’s top offensive weapon. During their last seven games, the Terriers have held the opposing team’s top scorers to a combined four shots on goal.

The latest example was in the final regular-season game when the corps of Schultz, Henry, Dorman and sophomore Matt Shea prevented the University of Hartford’s Carlos Villa, AE’s leading goal scorer, from recording a single shot on net.

‘ Watching, waiting

As the top seed heading into the conference tournament, BU will be able to sit back and relax as the quarterfinal round takes place tomorrow. The Terriers will host the winner of tomorrow’s contest between University of Vermont and Hartford next Wednesday, while the victor in the game between the University of New Hampshire and Binghamton will travel to the University at Albany.

BU defeated Hartford, 2-0, in its season finale and tied the Catamounts, 1-1, two games earlier. Vermont defeated the Hawks, 1-0, a week and a half ago.

If the Terriers advance to the championship game, they could earn a chance to avenge their most disappointing loss of the season ‘-‘- a 3-0 embarrassment at home to Albany in the conference opener.

BU defeated Binghamton, 2-0, and UNH, 2-1, earlier this season. The Bearcats knocked off the Wildcats in a 2-0 win two weeks ago.

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