By: Matt Doherty
With the season on the line, the Boston University Women’s Soccer Team responded to adversity and came out with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Loyola Maryland in the Patriot League Semifinals on Friday night at Nickerson Field.
The Terriers used a Jenna Fisher go ahead goal in the 83rd minute to break the tie and advance to the Patriot League Championship on Sunday afternoon.
“They have good athletes and are physically strong so it was hard to separate from them, we had to claw and scrape for everything,” Head Coach Nancy Feldman said.
The first half was a back and forth, evenly played match with no team showing an advantage over the other. BU outshot the Greyhounds 6-4 in the opening 45 minutes but lost the corner kick battle 4-1. The match went into halftime with a 0-0 tie.
Heading into the final 45 minutes, the Terriers knew the fate of their season was in jeopardy.
“There was going to be a little bit of jitters and anxiety in the first half but I said to the kids at halftime now we know what tournament soccer is about so now we’re ready to go out there in the second half and up the tempo and turn the dial up.” Feldman said.
Boston University came out attacking in the second half looking to find the back of the net. In the 56th minute, Rachel Bloznalis sent a free kick from just inside the midfield line over the head of Loyola goalkeeper Colleen Folan for the goal, drawing resemblance to Carli Lloyd’s goal in the World Cup.
“Free kicks are a big part of Rachel Bloznalis and she was a wonderful serve. It’s a special quality and we’re going to keep using her and she’ll figure it out like tonight.” Feldman said.
The goal by Bloznalis looked like it could have been the decisive edge but Loyola responded quickly. Just over two minutes later, Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year Rosy Hayes sent a corner kick to the box where Nicole Wahlig headed the ball past BU goalie Alyssa Parisi. It was Parisi’s first goal allowed since October 3rd and tied the game at 1-1.
The rest of the match was a physical one, with both teams fighting for their season. The game appeared to be heading to overtime until Jenna Fisher delivered again.
Clare Pleuler took a free kick from right outside of the box. The shot was saved by Folan but rebounded right to Fisher who deposited the ball into the back of the net giving the Terriers a 2-1 lead with little time remaining.
“It was a great set piece from Clare and I was just luckily there to clean it up…it feels amazing to advance to the championship game especially after a back and forth game like that.” Fisher said.
Feldman commented about her senior captain after the win.
“She’s just so focused, she’s so committed, and she’s willing to work, she’s persistent and has all the mental attributes. She’s also a pretty good soccer player too.” Feldman said.
Fisher as well as the defensive combo of Rachel Blauner, McKenzie Hollenbaugh, and Bloznalis helped the Terriers remain unbeaten in Patriot League play on the season and advance to the title game.
BU will play Bucknell who beat Navy 2-0 in the second semifinal game on Friday night. Kickoff for the championship game is scheduled for 1 P.M. and can be seen live on the Patriot League Network.