By: Alex Greenberg
BOSTON — The Boston University men’s soccer team will look to bounce back from a disappointing 1-1 draw with Bucknell when they welcome UMass-Lowell to Nickerson Field tonight.
This will be the first time BU and UMass-Lowell have faced each other since 1981. UML only moved to NCAA Division I in 2013 when they took the Patriot League-bound Terrier’s spot in the America East.
The Riverhawks come to Boston in a pretty good form, having won four of their last five games. They were most recently in action last Wednesday when they defeated Bryant University in a 3-2 thriller in Lowell. Junior midfielder Guilherme Rodrigues scored a winner in overtime for his first goal of the season.
One player to watch from UMass Lowell is junior Wuilito Fernandes. Fernandes was born in Praia, Cape Verde and currently leads the Riverhawks with two goals and three assists on the season.
The Terrier’s back line will need to be at the top of their games to stop Fernandes. This could be made harder if the Terriers are without freshman Ben Valek again, who has not played since coming off with an apparent head injury against Harvard.
In Valek’s absence, Coach Neil Roberts has relied on the experience of Jeroen Blugh and David Asbjornsson at the back. Blugh conceded a controversial penalty which created Bucknell’s only goal. In turn, Blugh equalized for the Terriers a few minutes later, heading in a corner from Mark Wadid.
Freshmen defenders Adam Wright and David Riccio have also filled in well since Valek’s injury.
There haven’t been many defensive issues of late for the Terriers, but they will certainly be looking for a return to form offensively. Anthony Viteri and Felix De Bona, two of BU’s most dangerous attackers, were effectively shut down by Bucknell.
Despite the draw, Coach Roberts was happy with the way BU played against Bucknell, claiming that they “out-battled” their visitors from Pennsylvania.
This UMass-Lowell team won’t park the bus in the same manner that the Bison did on Sunday. They’ll look to attack and play an open style game, something which the Terriers will be happy to go up against after struggling to find space against a very compact Bucknell side. The Terriers were unable to find a winner against the Bison, despite outshooting Bucknell 28-9.
Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Nickerson Field, and can be seen over on the Patriot League Network.