By: Dave Souza
After last Tuesday’s win over the Northeastern Huskies, Coach Neil Roberts challenged freshman forward Jerry Ozor, citing how the young Milton Academy product had to be more consistent in his play moving forward. A week later, Ozor took a big step towards that wanted consistency as he notched two assists in Boston University’s 2-0 win over Brown University at Nickerson Field.
“I missed preseason, so it has been a little bit of an adjustment coming in late and getting up to speed,” Ozor said. “I think tonight showed that I’ve been able to work my way up to the level and I think I’m picking up speed.”
Though the Terriers had the majority of the scoring chances in the first half, they were unable to get on the scoreboard until the half’s waning moments. In the 42nd minute Ozor battled down the far side of the pitch with a Brown defender.
After baiting his opponent and causing the defender to overcommit, Ozor took advantage of open space in front of him to take an uncontested shot on keeper Erik Hanson. The goalkeeper made the initial save, diving to his left to stop Ozor’s rocket before fellow freshman Matt McDonnell deposited the rebound to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead going into the half.
“We know Jerry is a good player, he’s just finding himself right now,” Coach Neil Roberts said of his young striker. “He’s just getting his legs now, and getting to know everybody, and getting more comfortable. I think what you saw was the beginning of a long career for Jerry; he’s very talented.”
Often battling back and forth in tight games with Brown, the Terriers were not content with the one goal lead, and came out in the second half on a mission to double it. Last season’s second leading scorer Anthony Viteri added to his already large goal total by recording his fourth of the season just nine minutes in to the second half.
Viteri had been swarming around the mouth of the net all game. Just before McDonnell’s goal in the first half, the St. John’s transfer uncorked a laser of a shot from long range that dinged off the right post before rolling away. This time, however, Viteri opted for finesse over power as he placed one – using his left foot – just far enough to the right of Hanson that the diving keeper could not reach it before the ball hit the inside of the right post and shot in for the goal.
“Anthony’s very patient, if it’s not there Anthony doesn’t force it,” Roberts said. “If he sees an opening he’s going to go but he’s not forcing things. He’s a good passer, he has good vision, and he’s patient and the opportunities that he’s getting, he’s taking advantage of.”
With the two-goal lead in tact, BU relied on the strength of its defense and the stability of goalkeeper Matt Gilbert to keep the Terriers out front. Gilbert made five saves as he recorded his second consecutive shutout at Nickerson Field. BU’s lone goal conceded at home this season came in their season opener against the University of Massachusetts.
Gilbert’s shining moment came with about 20 minutes remaining in the contest. As Nate Pomeroy ran in in the BU goal, Gilbert came out and challenged the forward before forcing Pomeroy to fire a point blank shot that Gilbert took right in the stomach.
“Matt’s come so far, he’s such a hard worker and he’s so demanding on himself,” Roberts said of his senior captain. “He’s worked hard in the weight room, he’s put good weight on, he’s worked extremely hard in summers and springs on reading the game. You want good things to happen for him because he’s a leader for us and he’s a hard worker. . . I never thought I’d see him doing what he’s doing now, and that’s a credit to him.”
With Patriot League play set to begin on Saturday, as the Terriers travel to Lewisburg, PA to take on the Bucknell Bison, Coach Roberts has expressed his non-complacent satisfaction with how his team has performed thus far in the season.
“We’re not ready yet, but we’re close,” Roberts admitted. “The good thing about this group is that every game we’ve gotten a little bit better. I think at Princeton we had some good things, and some more good things in this game here.”