By: David Souza
BOSTON — On a wet and rainy night in Boston, Massachusetts, the Boston University Terriers (11-4-1, 5-1-1 PL) locked down yet another Patriot League win, this time over Turnpike Trophy rivals the College of the Holy Cross (5-7-4, 2-3-2 PL).
While the Crusaders started out with consistent pressure in the Terriers half of the field, it was BU who struck first in this heated rivalry.
In the 8th minute, junior Felix De Bona took a pass from Magnus Benediktsson after the Iceland native quickly maneuvered around the Holy Cross defense. Just as De Bona came close to the net, Holy Cross goalie Kevin Wright aggressively charged him. In doing so, Wright sent De Bona head over heals and triggered a penalty kick for the Terriers.
The call was very controversial and not well received by Crusader head coach Marco Koolman, as the fourth year skipper received a yellow card for his outburst at the game’s officials. After the outburst, the 5′ 10″ junior converted on the penalty marker by ripping a shot to the right side of an outstretched Wright, his second goal in two games.
The Crusaders would then even the score just moments later. In the 11th minute, junior Matt Villano collected a rebound off of a David Asbjornsson blocked shot and poked the ball past the tripped up legs of BU goalkeeper Matt Gilbert.
The early goal was the second the Terriers have conceded in its past two home games, as they allowed an early marker in a 3-2 loss to Lehigh this past Saturday. While head coach Neil Roberts harped on his team having to play down early this past weekend, he did not seem too overly bothered by the early Holy Cross score.
“The first ten, fifteen minutes is always just people sorting each other out and trying to figure out what they’re and we’re going to do,” said Roberts.
After the Crusaders’ equalized, the Terriers appeared to play on their heels. Three times in the following twelve minutes, Holy Cross saw high quality scoring chances swallowed up by Gilbert. The Madison, New Jersey native shut down Villano on a short-side scoring chance in the 14th. He followed it up by deflecting a Crusader cross in the 17th and then punching out a free kick in the 22nd.
Bad news then struck for Holy Cross, as their lone goal scorer exited the game in the waning moments of the 22nd minute with what appeared to be a painful lower left-leg injury.
Following Villano’s departure, the Terriers came alive, starting with Benediktsson’s chance a minute later. The 5’ 6” freshman quickly tracked down a ball that appeared to be almost out of bounds and somehow kept it in the field of play by firing it past Holy Cross’ Wright. The ball slowly dribbled along the goal line with no Terrier to tap it into the open net before a Crusader defensemen cleared the danger away.
BU finally converted six minutes later thanks again to the heroics of De Bona, who would snatch up Turnpike Trophy MVP honors for his multi-goal game. The Somerville native took a pass from Benediktsson down the right side of the field. De Bona then moved towards the net mouth before rocketing a shot just outside of the box that curved over the right shoulder of an unsuspecting Wright.
“Felix had a great game. The second goal was a beautiful goal so I’m happy for him; he needed that,” said Roberts.
The second half of the game largely featured a defensive battle between the two squads highlighted by De Bona being denied of his hat trick in the 77th minute.
On the other side of the ball, the Crusaders twice missed tying the score. The first came in the 81st minute when a pass from a Holy Cross forward sneaked past Gilbert but did not find a fellow Crusader to finish the job. Six minutes later, Holy Cross’ leading-scorer, Yuji Callahan hit the right hand post on a bullet from inside the box.
After a Terrier offside negated a Nicki Wieners’ goal in the 89th minute, BU withstood a last-minute flurry by the Crusaders and sealed their conference leading 5th Patriot League victory.
BU also improved to 3-0 vs. Holy Cross, across all sports, in the year-long battle for the Turnpike Trophy.
The Terriers will be back in action at 4 p.m. this Saturday against Army West Point in upstate New York, with playoff hosting implications in place for their final two games.