By Dylan Woods and Lily Betts
Before Boston University men’s soccer claimed its first win since Oct. 3 in a 1-0 win over the United States Military Academy, the Terriers (4-9-3, 3-3-1 Patriot League) went down against the United States Naval Academy 1-2 while in Annapolis, Maryland.
The loss against Navy had been the Terriers’ third consecutive loss, while the Midshipmen came into the game with a 1-11-1 record and no wins in the Patriot League.
BU head coach Neil Roberts said injuries have forced him to change the team’s methods.
“We just don’t have the players left to do [possession-based play],” Roberts said. “We have to be a bit more direct and pin teams in. It’s just what we have to do.”
Against Army (6-8-1, 3-4-0 Patriot League), shots were limited to 6-7 with the Terriers leading.
The team’s Icelantic duo laid claim to the game early.
Sophomore midfielder Toti Knutsson recorded the first shot of the game in the fourth minute from outside the box, forcing Black Knight goalkeeper Justin Stoll into action.
Army got enough skin on it for freshman midfielder Kari Petursson to get a corner kick, the first of three Petursson would receive before the seventh minute.
In the 12th minute, Petursson intercepted a throw from Stoll to one of his defenders, corralling the ball and shooting it inside the right post.
It would be the final goal of the match, leaving the rest of the game to a defensive match, backed by freshmen Nate Cole, Josh Hurwitz and sophomore Maxwell Aunger in the starting 11.
“We had two freshmen and a sophomore, and they were very composed,” Roberts said. “We kind of knew what Army was going to do. By the way we play, we were hoping they would go direct, makes it a little easier on the backs … the guys did a good job in the second half of stopping that.”
The match against Navy was a similarly slowed-down affair.
In the first half, neither team found the back of the net, managing one shot on goal total while the Terriers handled all five corners.
Sophomore defender Elias Lampis got two corner kicks in the first six minutes, but neither resulted in a shot attempt.
To start the second half, senior midfielder Adam Wright scored his first collegiate goal after heading a cross from Knutsson in the 51st minute.
The defensive-focused midfielder Wright tallied four assists in his first two years with the team but missed missed the entire 2017 season due to an injury.
Roberts said that producing offense was a main challenge due to the injuries.
“When you lose all your forwards, it’s hard to hold the ball and not have the poor guys in the back under pressure so much,” Roberts said. “Adam’s playing up front, he’s not a striker … they’re giving us everything they have and they’re working hard.”
However, late in the game, the BU defense could not hold the lead.
First, it was Midshipman forward Bayne Bentley who scored an unassisted goal in the 71st minute. Then, 14 minutes later, fellow freshman forward Jacob Williams converted off the post to put Navy up 2-1.
After playing to a stalemate in the first half, the Terriers were outshot 10-6 and had just two corner kicks to Navy’s three.
Senior goalkeeper Mike Bernardi made six saves during the two matches.
BU now has two games left in the regular season, against Bucknell University and Colgate University. Currently, the Terriers are tied in fifth place within the conference along with Bucknell (6-6-3, 3-3-1 Patriot League) — six teams make it to the Patriot League tournament.
Roberts said that the team is putting in the effort, but mistakes are still costing the team valuable points.
“It’s been very disappointing, obviously, but the effort’s been there all along,” Roberts said. “We had a breakdown, and that has been more the problem is just mistakes and young kids making mistakes. You would hope that at this point in the season, we’d have it.”