It all comes down to Nov. 6 for the Boston University men’s soccer team.
The Loyola University Maryland spoiled BU’s senior day and now the Terriers have their backs against the wall and must defeat the United States Military Academy on the road to earn three points and potentially earn a spot in the Patriot League postseason.
The Terriers (4-11-1, 3-5-0 Patriot League) could not find their footing on offense as three second half goals helped the Greyhounds (9-7-1, 6-2-0 PL) put a damper on the celebration of BU’s seniors with a 3-0 win.
The seniors that were honored were midfielders Mana Chavali, Satchel Cortet and Jasper Verplanke, senior captain and forward Matt McDonnell and back Schuyler Fuchsman.
BU head coach Neil Roberts said he is proud of the Terrier seniors, who are continuing to put in good effort despite the tough season.
“It was a sad day, it’s always tough when a team is struggling,” Roberts said. “I give them credit, we’re hanging in there and we’re going from there.
It was a tale of two halves for the BU defense. The Terriers shut down the Patriot League’s highest scoring offense in the first half, holding Loyola to only two shots on goal.
Bend but don’t break was the motto of the first half as the Greyhounds made multiple pushes deep into the BU box, but were turned away each time in a resilient performance.
The second half started off the same way for the Terriers, but this time it was the efforts of junior goalkeeper Michael Stone that kept Loyola off the board.
In the 49th minute, Loyola’s leading scorer, senior Brian Saramago, broke free down the left wing and found a wide open Sam Brown, who was a few feet in front of the penalty spot. Brown stopped with the ball and lined up a shot that was kicked away by Stone.
Stone’s number was called again just two minutes later, when senior Josh Fawole found himself with the ball and a wide open shot from the right side of the box. Fawole delivered a missile that was knocked up over the crossbar by Stone, who began making hand signals telling his team to slow it down and regain possession.
Unfortunately for Stone, the Greyhounds continued to dominate possession and Stone was finally beaten by Fawole in the 55th minute. Fawole was found by his teammate in the middle of the box and easily beat Stone, who was caught with nowhere to go because there was so much chaos in the penalty box, for his seventh goal of the season.
Momentum continued to surge in Loyola’s direction when Saramago scored his eighth goal of the season on a strange bounce only 36 seconds after Fawole’s goal. Saramago was open on Stone’s doorstep, but was only able to stick his foot out for the pass. The ball bounced off Saramago’s foot and took a strange arc over Stone’s head to put Loyola up 2-0.
The 2-0 lead looked insurmountable in the remaining 40 minutes for the Terriers, but Loyola put the dagger in on an 84th minute goal by Fawole again to make the score 3-0.
To make matters worse for BU, sophomore back Josh Hurwitz was sent off the pitch in the 78th minute when he received his second yellow card of the game and he is no longer unable to play in the regular season finale.
Officiating was a point of contention for both coaches Saturday. The game was fairly physical by both sides but both coaching staffs had their tempers flare as fouls were called inconsistently against both teams.
The BU offense was unable to get anything going all game against a stout five-man defensive unit from the Greyhounds. BU was held to five shots for the game and none of those on-target while only having two corner kick opportunities.
Roberts said inability to pass into the box was the main factor behind BU’s offensive breakdown.
“We couldn’t get any services in,” Roberts said. “The whole thing we thought we could do was get some crosses in and we didn’t do that … I would say we weren’t really on the whole day.”
Following Saturday’s loss, the Terriers sit at seventh in the Patriot League standings with nine points. American University, Colgate University and Bucknell University all sit above BU with 10 points. The Terriers will need to win on Wednesday at Army and receive help from other teams in the conference if they are to sneak into the tournament.
Roberts kept things simple when talking about BU’s season finale.
“We’ve just got to regroup,” Roberts said. “No matter what, we need three points; no matter what.”