When people think of the 2008 Boston University women’s soccer team, the offense should come to mind. The Terriers boast three players with four goals or more and have scored two or more goals in six of their 10 America East conference games.
Against Stony Brook University Saturday, the Terriers proved they are more than just an offensive powerhouse ‘-‘- they are the epitome of a complete team.
BU’s defense had some issues late in games earlier this season, but those worries were soon forgotten as it has held opponents scoreless in eight of its past 12 matches.
The defense proved its worth again in the America East championship game, shutting down AE Rookie of the Year Colleen McKenna, who entered the game with nine goals and three assists. The rest of the Stony Brook offense had a combined 25 goals and 70 assists on the year, but the Terrier defense put the clamps on the Seawolves, allowing four shots ‘-‘- two on goal ‘-‘- and two corner kicks.
AE Fan’s Choice Player of the Year Marisha Schumacher-Hodge has led the powerful Terrier attack all season. However, when Schumacher-Hodge went down with a lower back injury early in the second half Saturday, the BU midfield was more than ready to fill the void.
The midfield created space along the pitch and wore out Stony Brook defenders with long runs. Sophomore Corie Halasz netted the first goal of the game on a left-footed shot that bounced off the post and in. The midfield showed its range by playing sophomore Shauna Kelleher on defense.
Halasz said the team would not vary its style of play Saturday because it was the title match.
‘We talked about it all season. We’re not going to change our gameplan to play certain teams differently. We play our style and hope teams adjust to us.’ Halasz said.
Junior Farrell McClernon said her team had high expectations coming into the season but never expected to get this far.
‘It’s unbelievable. We have a team where everyone comes to play every day and it’s really great,’ McClernon said.
Then, of course, there is sophomore goalkeeper Janie Reilly, who has been shaped into BU’s netminder of the future. She had not seen much action in the America East playoffs prior to this season, but the Terriers likely would not have become the dominant team they are without her. Reilly has allowed only 11 goals this season and registered nine shutouts.
BU coach Nancy Feldman remarked on her team’s perfect run throughout the conference regular season and the playoffs.
‘I thought about the Patriots and the perfect season, and we were undefeated through the conference season and we were picked number one at the beginning of the year,’ Feldman said. ‘Everyone was gunning for us and we had a lot of expectations. I think that shows a lot of fortitude.’
Feldman also acknowledged that this is the most talented Terrier group she has coached in her 14-year BU tenure.
‘For every position there was a balance, and this was the most balanced and talented team I’ve seen,’ Feldman said. ‘We’ll see how we do with the teams at the next level. That’ll be the test of how good we can be.’