By: David Souza
BOSTON — For the second consecutive game at Nickerson Field, Matt Gilbert and the Boston University Terriers blanked a tough opponent as BU trounced their cross-town rivals Harvard, 3-0.
The boys from Cambridge entered the game at 1-3-2 and were fresh off of a strong 0-0 draw against #9 Washington. On the other side of the pitch stood the Terriers (4-2-0) coming off of a tough loss to the Princeton Tigers. They bounced back in a big way as Anthony Viteri led the charge, scoring two times for his fourth and fifth goals of the season.
The scoring began at the tail end of the first half when Viteri took a pass from Nicki Wieners in the top of the box and rocketed a shot into the top right corner of the net. The play began when freshman midfielder Magnus Benediktsson, playing in just his second game for the Terriers, drove down the right side of the field. Benediktsson then dished out a pass to a streaking Wieners who then fed a one-touch pass to a wide-open Viteri at the center of the box.
“It’s been my team [that has allowed me to have these scoring chances], I just drive to the defense and they open up for me and we just combine,” said Viteri when asked what he has done differently to score four goals in three games.
Viteri had his second on the night in the 55th minute when junior Mark Wadid sent him a long pass from around midfield. The sophomore transfer from St. John’s then split the Harvard back line and slid the ball past the outstretched hands of Mendez to double the Terrier lead.
“[Harvard] pressed very well, but we’ve been working on our defense in practice,” said head coach Neil Roberts.
For the second home game in a row, the BU defense was impenetrable as they not only kept the Crimson off of the scoreboard, but also neutralized the entire offense. For those few opportunities that did make their way through BU’s superb back line, redshirt-junior goalie Matt Gilbert was there to preserve his eighth career shut-out.
Stopping five total shots on the night, Gilbert’s best save came in the 85th minute off of a shot by Harvard’s Jake Freeman. The senior forward from Melville, New York took a pass from a fellow Crimson forward. Freeman then fired an absolute rocket of a shot to the top of the Terrier net that would have brought Harvard within a goal if it were not for the punching hand of Matt Gilbert leaping to the top corner of the goal to barely keep out Freeman’s would-be goal.
“I’ve really been working with the coaches and my goalie coach,” said Gilbert. “We just try to get a few things down. I need to be more vocal in net but my footwork has improved over the past few games. It’s just been an all around team effort.”
Quickly after Gilbert’s athletic save against Freeman came another chance for Harvard on a corner. The Terrier defense stood strong and thwarted the chance, leading to a counter-attacking goal from Lucas McBride.
McBride and T.J Butzke broke free from the Harvard defense following a cleared corner and came in on a 2-on-1 against a lone member of the Crimson. Butzke then fed a fresh substitute McBride who chipped it over a sprawling Mendez for the clinching goal.
Although he scored, McBride was not the only bench player for the Terriers that made a significant impact on the field. Benediktsson, a freshman from Reykjavak, Iceland, saw significant playing time at 43 minutes and even started the second half instead of freshman phenom T.J Butzke.
“Magnus is a guy that likes to go at the defense, he likes to take the ball and go,” said Roberts on his choice to play Benediktsson.
Shots remained close throughout the game as the two schools both put five shots on net apiece. While their last home game with Sienna was physical, it was mainly the Terriers doing the pushing around this time as they committed twenty fouls to Harvard’s six.
What separated these two teams on Thursday night was the Terriers controlling the game. They dominated time of possession and the few times Harvard did have the ball Matt Gilbert was there to anchor the Terrier defense.
With the offensive prowess of Anthony Viteri being showcased for yet another game, the Terriers are poised for a monumental matchup with the Bucknell Bison on Sunday afternoon. BU has never beaten Bucknell, their most recent loss coming in double overtime of the 2014 Patriot League Final, 3-2.
But with Anthony Viteri leading the charge and Matt Gilbert remaining a rock wall in net, anything is possible.