By: David Souza
BOSTON — They say all good things must come to an end, and, for the Boston University Men’s Soccer Team, that statement held true as they saw their 14-game Patriot League winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
Things started out poorly for BU (10-4-1, 4-1-1 PL) as they were once again without sophomore midfielder and leading-scorer Anthony Viteri. From their things only got worse for the Terriers as they orchestrated two comebacks against Lehigh (9-5-1, 3-3-0 PL) only to ultimately fall in overtime.
Lehigh standout Jaime Luchini opened the scoring in the 26th minute as the 6’2” forward collected his own rebound off of a David Asbjornsson save before popping it over the defender into the back of the goal.
The play started when redshirt-junior goalie Matt Gilbert aggressively pressed the Mountain Hawk offense in order to make a save. In doing so Gilbert gave up a rebound that fell right in front of Luchini. The Wexford, PA native then ripped a shot that beat Gilbert but was actually saved by a sprawling Asbjornsson before ricocheting right back to Luchini.
From then on it looked as if the Terriers were constantly playing on their heels, as they repeatedly had to thwart Lehigh scoring chances.
“You have to give [Lehigh] credit, they took their goals well. They really went at us on the counter and we didn’t deal with it,” said head coach Neil Roberts.
Late in the first half, BU saw a little bit of luck go their way when a T.J. Butzke cross deflected off of a Lehigh defender into the back of the net to tie the game at one. That goal, which came in the 42nd minute, was originally thought to be Danny Foen’s, but, upon further review, was deemed an own goal after it was seen that the ball caromed off of the defender.
Going into the second half the Terriers seemed poised to take control of the game over their conference foes from Pennsylvania. Both sophomore midfielder David Amirani and senior defenseman Jeroen Blugh started the half for BU after the two missed significant time due to injuries.
Shortly after their return to the pitch, Asbjornsson ripped a shot that came as a result of a corner kick over the net in the 46th minute. However, Lehigh retook the lead just a few minutes later as freshman Mark Forrest took a cross from midfielder Alex Greene before heading it past the fingertips of the outstretched Gilbert.
The goal was the result of BU defensive breakdowns as the Terriers tried three times to clear the ball from their zone before Forrest made them pay.
“You give the ball away within the 18 against any Division One team and you should be punished for it…and we were,” said Roberts.
But once again the Terriers persevered. After Gilbert made an acrobatic save in the 79th minute where he batted the ball into the air before subsequently out muscling a Lehigh forward and then catching the projectile, junior Felix De Bona evened the score at 2. The 5’ 10” Somerville native booted a Mark Wadid pass on net that deflected into the top right corner over Lehigh’s unsuspecting Joe Bogan. The goal was De Bona’s first since his game-winner against American back on the 3rd of the month.
“It’s credit to them to come back, they kept fighting and fighting. We’ve done this all year [but] this time it finally caught us,” said Roberts.
The De Bona goal, along with yet another stellar save by Gilbert, this time in the 86th minute, revitalized a sluggish BU squad for the final stretch of regulation.
However, their newly found energy was short-lived as the Mountain Hawks dramatically earned their first ever victory over the Terriers with a goal 57 seconds into overtime.
Sophomore forward Doyle Tuvesson streaked down the right hand side of the field before tiptoeing his way around the seemingly helpless BU defense. The Pennsylvanian then smoothly slid the game-winner just out of Gilbert’s reach and into the bottom right corner to end the Terriers’ comeback effort. As the rest of Tuvesson’s teammates stormed the field to mob the goal-scorer, the Terrier’s looked on, dejected.
They will now set their sites on Holy Cross, another Patriot League opponent, who comes to Nickerson Field this Wednesday at 7 p.m.