By: Matt Doherty
Battling strong winds and intense rain all evening, the Boston University Terriers came the closest they have this season to earning a point. With the score tied 1-1 late in the second half, the game was most surely heading to a sudden death overtime period.
However, in the waning seconds of regulation, the visiting Cincinnati Bearcats scored an own goal off an errant cross to escape Nickerson Field with an improbable victory and leave the home team with nothing but heartbreak.
“I feel bad for them,” said head coach Nancy Feldman after the defeat. “They aren’t getting the results and the outcome they want after all their hard work,” she said.
The game started off slow as neither team was able to get anything going in the first half. Both teams had five shots on net but nothing to show for on the scoreboard. The Terriers had the brightest chance in the opening frame when Bearcat goalkeeper Claudia Eustaquio got tangled up with a BU forward. As both fell to the ground, the ball found Chelsea Churchill at the top of the box. The sophomore fired a shot that sailed right over the net keeping the game scoreless.
Cincinnati started the scoring though early in the second half. After a bad touch from a BU defender in her own zone, Kyleigh Dominguez capitalized on the turnover and sent a curler from 20 yards out to beat BU goalie Hannah Ciolek.
The Terriers, who only scored one goal in their first five matches, battled back. Three consecutive corner kicks led to three great chances for BU and on that third opportunity, Dorrie Varley-Barrett sent a rebound into the back of the net, to tie the game at one.
The final 15 minutes of regulation went back and forth with each team countering the other. The Bearcats had one final flurry in the last minute. Vanessa Gilles shot in front of the net was blocked by a BU defender setting up a corner kick. On the ensuing play, Dominguez crossed a ball that went by Ciolek. As the ball trickled across the crease, a BU defender tried to save the ball but ended up kicking it in the back of the net with eight seconds remaining sending shock to the 1,949 in attendance.
The agonizing defeat dropped BU to 0-6 on the season while Cincinnati improved to 4-2. Despite the early season struggles, Feldman instilled optimism after the game. “I do believe that in the end though, you get what you deserve and I think that will happen to this team with their hard work.”
Last year’s team started the season 0-4-2 through their first six games but went on to win the Patriot League Championship and advance to the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. However, Feldman doesn’t think the two teams are similar despite their starts.
“Every year is so different and we’re younger this year and less experienced. These games are learning experiences for us and each game we continue to grow and become more connected,” she said.
“The goals will start to come and the wins will start to come. We just have to stick together and work hard and get better,” Feldman said.
The non-conference gauntlet of a schedule will continue before Patriot League play begins. The Terriers will head to Blacksburg,Virginia later this week to play James Madison on Friday and nationally ranked Virginia Tech on Sunday before rounding out non-conference play with an always tough Northeastern squad next Thursday.
“This is only going to make us stronger,” said Feldman.