The Boston University men’s soccer team finally got on the scoreboard Saturday night on the road against the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, but a last-second goal sunk the Terriers.
The Terriers (0-5) scored their first goal this season on a penalty kick in the 78th minute, but the River Hawks (2-2-1) earned the victory with a 110th minute goal to seal the game.
With time winding down, UMass Lowell brought the ball down the field for one final possession. A BU foul with 40 seconds left in the game gave the River Hawks a free kick opportunity just outside the penalty box. A cross sailed into the penalty box and a header from senior midfielder Roko Prsa found the back of the net to finish off the Terriers.
BU head coach Neil Roberts said he believes his team made great progress in preparing for conference play despite multiple losses.
“Obviously it’s disappointing we didn’t get something out of the game,” Roberts said. “We controlled very big portions of the game and I think possession from [University of] Massachusetts on has been very good.”
The first half started quietly with BU applying offensive pressure for the first 10 minutes, but the intensity picked up as the half progressed with the River Hawks making several runs past BU defenders to set up offensive chances.
Junior goalkeeper Michael Stone was tested all night as he made multiple saves, including knocking down a free kick in the 27th minute when UMass Lowell was awarded a foul just outside the BU penalty box.
The River Hawks would strike for the game’s first goal in the final minutes of the first half. Senior midfielder Dario Jovanovski unleashed a powerful strike from 25 yards that found the top left corner of the net past a jumping Stone.
The Terriers were outshot by UMass Lowell in the first half 4-3 and had no shots on goal going into the break.
The second half featured far fewer offensive chances in the first 15 minutes, but once again the intensity picked up with four shots in a 10 minute span starting in the 65th minute.
The Terriers finally got the monkey off their back, senior forward Matt McDonnell scored the first goal of the season for BU when he was fouled in the penalty box. McDonnell stepped up to the penalty spot and deposited the ball in the net to tie the game and get the Terriers in the score column for the first time this season.
Roberts said scoring a goal was another step in the Terriers improvement.
“We’ve been getting better and better chances,” Robertse said. “It was a good sign. We were down and came back, on the road, and then still pushed the game to try and get the second goal.”
Both teams had chances to end the game in regulation with chances in the 90th minute. BU had a corner kick with 60 seconds left and brought most of the team forward to try and put in the game-winner. That almost cost the Terriers though because the River Hawks gained possession of the ball and brought it down the field on the counter-attack, but the ensuing shot with four seconds left would never find its mark because it was blocked by a BU defender in the box to send the game to overtime.
The River Hawks thought they had the game sealed up with a goal in the 95th minute, but the forward was offsides and the goal was waved off.
The Terriers had a chance of their own in the final minute of the first overtime, but a matter of inches separated BU from its first win of the season when freshman Owen Murray’s shot sailed just over the crossbar.
Unfortunately for BU, despite the progress being made in scoring a goal and playing better defense, the River Hawks buried a goal with 30 seconds left, off of a free kick to end the game just before the final whistle was blown.
The Terriers will travel to Providence, Rhode Island to take on Brown University in a rematch of last year’s game at Nickerson Field in which the Bears beat the Terriers 2-1.
Roberts said Brown will be the team’s last opportunity to prepare for Patriot League play.
“[We’ve got to] do what we’ve been doing, trying to create more without exposing ourselves in the back,” Roberts said. “I think the big thing is we’ve given up big goals this year, I think five of them are off of restarts which is an issue.