By: David Souza
After a season that saw so much good come for the Boston University Men’s Soccer Team, their hopes of a Patriot League title fell short as they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of American University on Friday night.
The Terriers, who finished the season at 12-5-2, were shut out for just the second time all season and for the first time since an early October loss to Brown University.
Coming into the tournament with a first round bye as the number two overall seed and just a mere two points from hosting the Patriot League Tournament, BU was poised to make it back to their second straight Patriot League Championship Game. However, the upstart Eagles, (14-4-3), put an end to the Terriers’ title hopes with two first half goals.
The first came in the game’s fifth minute when sophomore forward Vinny Barone deposited his team leading seventh goal of the season off of a free kick from senior midfielder Liam Robley. The free kick came as a result of a foul on Terrier defender Jeroen Blugh and, after Robley’s attempt found its way to Barone, the 5’ 10” Pennsylvanian simply had to tap it in.
But the Eagles did not stop there with their first half offensive charge. 34 minutes later, a Terrier turnover at midfield forced BU goalkeeper Matt Gilbert to challenge American’s Nick Sifrin. As Gilbert, a redshirt junior from Madison, New Jersey, confronted the German-born sophomore, Sifrin spied an open teammate. Fellow classmate Danny Kaiser took the feed from Sifrin before sliding the ball into an open net, pushing the Eagles’ lead to two.
Leading the offensive charge for the Terriers were junior Felix De Bona and sophomore Anthony Viteri. Both forwards led BU in scoring with 18 and 14 points respectively. The duo combined for 11 of the Terriers’ 16 shots; unfortunately for the scarlet and white however, only four total shots found their way on goal.
American’s Dylan Hobert had a relatively easy night in goal, save for a 12th minute flurry for the Terriers that resulted in De Bona sending a Viteri cross just above the crossbar. Contrastingly, Gilbert only faced four shots on goal from American, but conceded the two markers.
After defeating the Terriers, American will faceoff against Lehigh University in the Patriot League Championship. The Mountain Hawks also moved on to the title game by upsetting the higher seed, this time top-ranked Colgate.
While BU is currently ranked 31 in the NCAA’s RPI standings, their hopes of receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament appear slim. If they fail to qualify for non-conference post-season play, it will cap a disappointing end to a relatively successful season for Neil Roberts and company.
While the Terriers failed to win the Patriot League for a second straight year after falling in overtime to the Bucknell Bison in last year’s title game, their twelve-win season had much to rave about. Their four overtime wins provided the fans with plenty of drama and entertainment while their comeback efforts against Boston College on opening night reinvigorated a seemingly deflated yet packed Nickerson Field.
With the return of key players in De Bona, Viteri, Gilbert, and junior defender David Asbjornsson, look for the Terriers to once again be in the mix for the title come next season.