By: Dave Souza
The Boston University Men’s Soccer team looks to notch its first win away from the confines of Nickerson Field on Wednesday when they travel to Worcester, Mass. to take on the Holy Cross Crusaders.
Coming off of a 1-0 loss to the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh, the Terriers (5-6-2, 1-3-2 PL) will now set their sights on their in-state adversaries as BU hopes to return to .500 on the season.
The game also has further importance as it helps account for the Turnpike Trophy between BU and Holy Cross. Last year, the Terriers bested Holy Cross 2-1 at home with Felix De Bona recording both goals and earning Man of the Match.
This season, De Bona has been BU’s most prolific scorer, tallying 14 points on seven goals. The senior forward’s last strike came on October 18, when De Bona delivered overtime game-winner by curling a shot over the goalkeeper two minutes into the extra frame.
Standing alongside De Bona on a stout BU offense has been senior Anthony Viteri. With both players training with the New England Revolution this summer, both Viteri and De Bona have expressed how the experience increased their chemistry on and off the pitch. That chemistry has provided dividends for Coach Neil Roberts, who has two double-digit point scorers in De Bona and Viteri.
The Flushing, N.Y. native is nipping at the heels of De Bona on the stat sheet, registering 12 points on five goals and a pair of assists.
After that the Terriers have seen a youth movement in their offense. Impactful players like sophomore Magnus Benediktsson and freshmen Matt McDonnell and Jerry Ozor have been catalysts for a Terrier offense that has needed jump-starts during some games. The trio has combined for 16 points for the scarlet and white, all the while serving as spark-plugs at the front of the BU attack.
Defensively, the Terriers have been satisfactory – but not stellar – allowing 18 goals in 13 games. And while senior defender David Asbjornsson has logged a team-high 1106 minutes on the back line, the BU defense has been victimized by poor breakdowns at inopportune times.
Thankfully, senior captain Matt Gilbert has been there to keep the Terriers in the game. A verbal keeper that can be seen calling out to his defense during a match, Gilbert has felt the effects of a more porous defense throughout this season.
Compared to his numbers last year when he took home Goalkeeper of the Year honors from the Patriot League, Gilbert has seen a 0.32 uptick in his goals-against average while watching his save percentage dip down to .778.
Nevertheless, Gilbert has been a constant defensive force for BU who has, on more than one occasion, allowed BU to stay in games and continue to have a chance to win.
Opposing the Terriers will be Holy Cross (5-7-3, 1-2-3 PL), who stands just a point ahead of BU in the conference standings.
Much like their in-state rivals, Holy Cross features a dual threat offensively in Matt Villano and Arno Rupp. Both players have double-digit points with Villano leading the Crusaders with 16 and six goals. Joey DeVivo also poses a threat to the BU defense as the senior forward has notched 31 shots on goal this season – though only four have found the back of the net.
The Crusaders have split time between to goalkeepers this season as both sophomore Henry Stutz and freshman Bobby Hurstak have been between the pipes for Holy Cross. With only a lone goal-allowed differentiating the two netminders, look for the Terriers to heavily attack one of the young goalkeepers.
Kickoff is set for 7:05 in Worcester. Catch all the action on the Patriot League Network.