By: Matt Doherty
BOSTON — On Tuesday night at Nickerson Field, the BU Women’s Soccer team saw their seven match unbeaten streak come to an end as the Terriers lost a back-and-forth battle to the Harvard Crimson, 2-1.
The loss marked the first for BU since September 3rd and moved their record to 5-5-3 overall for the season. Meanwhile, the Crimson improved to 5-6-1 and won their third straight match. It was the last non-conference contest of the season for the both teams.
Harvard head coach Ray Leone did not start any of his regulars, and instead gave the second stringers a chance to play in the game ahead of the Ivy League showdown against Cornell on Saturday.
Boston University took advantage of Harvard’s inexperience in the early stages of the match. In the ninth minute, Rachel Bloznalis sent a free kick into the box where Christina Wakefield was there to head the ball past Harvard goalkeeper Lizzie Durack for her first goal of the season.
The Terriers continued to attack in the first half by outshooting the Crimson 10-2 while taking 3 corner kicks to Harvard’s zero. However, BU was only able to put one goal on the scoreboard and went into the half slim lead.
“We played great in the first half,” said BU Head Coach Nancy Feldman. “We controlled the tempo of the game but maybe we needed to add another goal in there because I thought we had a lot of the play.”
Both teams switched goalies to start the second half. Harvard replaced Durack with Danielle Etzer and Boston University took out senior Alyssa Parisi for junior Bridget Conway.
After playing only a little over ten minutes in the first half, Leone started all his normal starters in the second half. With fresh legs, the Crimson came out playing dominant soccer to begin the frame. Junior forward and U.S. Under-20 National Team member Margaret Purce set the tempo with her blistering speed and outstanding foot-work.
“She is the fastest player we will play against this year,” said Feldman. “She just has so much speed that it’s a lot to handle. Once she gets that first step or even when you’re even, she pulls away and you’re not catching her.”
Purce’s brilliance was on display in the 59th minute when she got a pass from Rachel Garcia, split the defense and beat the diving Conway to tie the game at one apiece.
Four minutes later the Crimson broke the deadlock when Rachel Garcia gathered the ball, turned, and shot from 25 yards out over the head of the Conway and under the crossbar to give Harvard a 2-1 lead. The goal would end up being the game winner.
It was truly a tale of two halves for both sides. The Crimson outshot the Terriers 12-3 in the second frame and won the corner kicks as well, 6-1. BU did not have any real chances to tie the game in the final 25 minutes of play giving Boston University their first loss in eight matches.
“I think it’s a lesson learned,” said Feldman. “You may feel like you have charge of a match but the match is 90 minutes, and if the other team gets momentum than the leads don’t matter much…You can’t defend for 45 minutes and think you can have a good result.”
The Terriers will look for a more complete game effort and to get back in the win column when they travel to face Patriot League foe Lafayette at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday.