Survive and advance.
That might have been the goal of the Boston University women’s soccer team as the players headed into their Patriot League quarterfinal matchup against Lafayette University Tuesday night.
The Terriers (10-7-3, 6-2-1 Patriot League) pushed the pace throughout the match, yet were unable to score early due in large part to the Leopards’ tough defense.
Despite recording a total of 21 shots, the Lafayette (5-8-2, 3-5-1 Patriot League) defense, managed to limit BU to only one goal.
The Leopards had an equally difficult time breaking through BU’s front line. After receiving her second straight Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year nod before the game, graduate student defender Rachel Bloznalis lead the charge for the back end of the Terriers.
When Lafayette broke through the BU line, they were constantly stopped by freshman goalkeeper Amanda Fay. Playing in her first playoff matchup, she recorded three saves.
This number hardly does Fay justice, as the Lafayette attack made some threatening advancements into the BU box. With the poise and patience of an upperclassman, Fay thwarted each opportunity, adding another clean sheet to her resume.
“She doesn’t look like a freshman,” said BU head coach Nancy Feldman. “Amanda stepped in and has given us everything we could have hoped. I believe she should have been an all-conference goalkeeper, I think they missed her.”
As the Bloznalis and the Terrier defense kept the Leopards off the board all game, it was up to the aggressive attacking squad to circle the wagons and bring home a win.
On a night where it seemed nothing would go the Terrier’s way on the offensive end, the team was finally able to break through in the 75th minute.
Earning a late corner kick, Patriot League Rookie of the Year Anna Heilferty dug in looking to help put one past the Leopards goalkeeper Kelly O’Brien. Heilferty teed up a arced right-footed ball into the 6-yard box, and last game’s hero senior Jacki Carty, flew in to head in home, putting the Terriers up 1-0.
The Terriers never relinquished the lead and will advance to the semifinals.
The resilience the Terriers showed in coming away with the win is nothing new to Feldman.
“This team’s showed a lot of perseverance and a lot of grit,” Feldman said. “It’s just been next gal up.”
Feldman added that this team has had a short memory when it comes to making mistakes.
“If they’ve gotten knocked down … they’ve kept getting back up,” Feldman said. “Getting ready for the next thing and not hanging their heads.”
This next gal up mentality will be put to the test moving forward, as senior forward Christina Wakefield left the game in the first half after an apparent injury.
“She was out for the rest of this game,” Feldman said, “and it’s not looking positive for this weekend.”
The Terriers will have to rally quickly, as they will face a quick turnaround. The squad will play Bucknell University Friday in Annapolis, Maryland in a rematch of last season’s Patriot League Tournament championship — in which the Bison (10-8, 7-2 Patriot League) came away with a 2-1 victory.
Feldman stressed that the Terriers will need to finish more chances to be competitive come Friday.
“That’s the thing, it’s converting,” Feldman said. “I wish I had the magic answer … We’re just trying to take the pressure off, all we need is one more than the other team.”