Looking to get back into a winning mentality, the No. 25 Boston University men’s soccer team defeated Colgate University by a score of 2-0 at Nickerson Field Wednesday night.
The first goal of the game came in the 56th minute, as junior defender Jeroen Blugh converted on his first goal of the season while freshman defender Bjarki Benediktsson came away with his fifth assist of the year.
“We usually have set plays, but my coach told me to make a different run for the goal, and it worked out really well,” Blugh said.
The assist puts the Hafnarfjordur, Iceland, native near the top of the Patriot League assists category — placing him in a tie for second place.
Junior forward Mac McGuire also registered his first goal of the season in the 61st minute, when he received the pass from senior forward Dominique Badji on the left side of the field and was able to curve it past Raiders (6-8-2, 2-4-1 Patriot League) goalkeeper Ricky Brown.
“It’s good for Mac,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “Mac has not had an easy go of it this year. It was good to get him a goal. We got him off the bench. The game was a little bit slower when he got in, and he looked good. Maybe that will work better for him, coming in that way, and he probably played more minutes than when he started.
“He looked comfortable today, and hopefully this will be good for him since it’s a good time to get comfortable.”
McGuire’s goal makes it 10 Terriers (11-3-2, 6-0-1 Patriot League) who have scored goals this season, with Badji leading the way with seven.
The starting lineup for the Terriers did not have two of the team’s key players in it, as scoring leader Badji and defensive stalwart Blugh were missing due to injuries, though each would come into the game at later points in the match.
In the 25th minute, Badji returned to the game, and it was evident that the scoring offense for the Terriers was missing his presence.
The first shot for BU did not come until 14 seconds after Badji was substituted in, as they earned a corner kick taken by senior midfielder Jordan Barker, but freshman midfielder David Amirani could not convert on the header attempt.
“The first half was a little slow and hesitant. We did not move the ball that well,” Roberts said. “We had some guys coming back off of injury and testing themselves, so I think that might have had something to do with it. Hopefully they got their confidence back, and we’re starting to get our team together finally.”
The Raiders got some quality shots on goal throughout the night, starting in the sixth minute when BU senior goalkeeper Nick Thomson deflected a rocket shot by senior Tanner Schilling up past the goal.
Thomson then combatted a breakaway from freshman Chase Pagani by meeting him at the edge of the 18-yard box and forcing his shot to go wide of the net in the 15th minute.
After a first half of offensive stagnation, the Terriers’ offense began to click in the second half, as BU began to match the standard that their defense had established.
Badji’s presence helped lift the Terriers’ offense through his strength in passing, highlighted by his assist on the second goal.
After the Terriers scored their first goal in the 56th minute, Colgate did not have a shot until Schilling hit one wide of the net in the 83rd minute.
In the 66th minute, Blugh was taken down at midfield and remained down, causing him to be substituted out of the game. Roberts said he is unsure what capacity Blugh can be used in future games.
“Who knows how you get cramps on a night like tonight, but Jeroen’s been out a couple of games, so who knows,” Roberts said. “He’s a pre-medical student, so maybe he can figure it out on his own. Hopefully he’ll be ok, and it’s very disappointing he can only go a few minutes. That’s not good.”
Coming into the game, BU looked to contain the top scorer in the Patriot League in Colgate sophomore Ethan Kutler and did just that in the game.
Kutler was rendered useless by the Terriers’ defense and regularly had multiple defenders around him throughout the contest. He finished with only one shot on goal in the game.
Kutler has 11 goals this season, while the next player on the Raiders’ squad only has two.
The injuries the Terriers have sustained throughout the season will have to be monitored closely throughout the end of the campaign leading up to the Patriot League Tournament. Badji, Blugh and senior defender Kelvin Madzongwe will all be needed to have a successful end to this season.
The injuries will have to be assessed quickly, as BU’s next test is Saturday in a clash with American University.
“We just got to be a little quicker and our pressure defensively too,” Roberts said. “American is a pretty good attacking team.”