By: Alex Greenberg
BOSTON — Boston University and Bucknell University have only faced each other 4 times in the history of their men’s soccer programs, but the two Patriot League foes are slowly forming a rivalry.
The Terriers and the Bison drew 1-1 on Sunday afternoon at Nickerson Field in a rematch of last year’s Patriot League Championship Game. That game saw the Terriers lose a heartbreaker in overtime to the Bison.
This latest matchup between the two sides, like the previous three meetings, went to overtime, but this time, it ended in a stalemate despite BU’s domination of the match. The Terriers handily had more attempts than the Bison, outshooting their opponent 28-9. However, the home side only found the back of the net once, and were unable to score a game-winner.
“They sat back, they parked the bus,” said senior defender Jeroen Blugh. “We had a lot of chances that we should have scored, but it just didn’t fall our way.”
Much of the game was played with BU in possession on Bucknell’s side of the field. Chris Thorsheim put Bucknell up 1-0 in the 15th minute when he converted a penalty kick, but after that, the Terriers completely dominated the first half. BU got the equalizer in the 24th minute when Blugh, who conceded the penalty, rose above the Bucknell defenders to head Mark Wadid’s corner kick into the back of the net.
The goal was only Blugh’s fourth during his time at BU, but it came at a perfect time. Jeroen’s parents, Earl and Nancy, were in attendance at Nickerson after making the trip up from Trinidad and Tobago.
“My parents are here and I thought about that when I went up for the header and as soon as I scored,” said Blugh. “It was a little extra motivation.”
Blugh’s header tied the match and brought those at Nickerson Field to their feet. It was truly a stunning header. Blugh did incredibly well to leap up and make perfect contact with Wadid’s corner. There was no chance for Bucknell keeper Mike Lansing to make a save, as the ball rocketed past him into the top corner.
The Terriers kept up the pressure after Blugh’s header, but they never managed to grab a second goal. Bucknell’s team sat back on defense, allowing the Terriers possession but restricting space around the penalty box. BU outshot the Bison 8-1 in the first half.
“I think they conceded three quarters of the field at that time,” said BU coach Neil Roberts. “They got the goal, we came back, and then it was kind of a battle. We out-battled them and it just ended up with us trying to get the goal.”
The second half was a much flatter affair, but BU still had the better chances. Lansing had a solid game, making 11 saves on the day, but most of BU’s chances in the second half came on shots from outside the box.
Junior Felix De Bona and sophomore Anthony Viteri were held in check in what was a frustrating day for two of BU’s most dangerous attackers. Much of their frustration was due to the fact that Bucknell senior defender Zack Rockmore was not letting anything past him. Rockmore, who transferred from Boston College, used his 6-2 frame to body BU’s attackers off the ball.
“He’s a good defender,” said Coach Roberts. “I think the big thing is that they’re a senior laden team. There’s 9 or 10 starters that are seniors. I thought we were physical when we needed to be, it’s just unfortunate we didn’t get the goal.”
Bucknell were certainly the team happier to leave Nickerson Field with only a point, although they almost snatched all three points in the final seconds of the first overtime. Freshman Magnus Benediktsson cleared a shot off the line after BU keeper Matt Gilbert was knocked down while coming out for a cross. The only real chance of the second overtime was for BU senior Lucas McBride, but his shot on the breakaway was blocked by a lunging Bucknell defender.
After the game, Blugh acknowledged that the result was a disappointment for the Terriers.
“I definitely take it as a loss of two points, but at least we still got something out of it.”
The next game for the Terriers will be on Wednesday night when they take on UMass Lowell at Nickerson Field with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m.