By: Matt Doherty
The Boston University women’s soccer team has not lost a match since September 18th, a 2-0 heart-wrenching defeat to Bucknell in Lewisburg, Penn.
On Friday, the Terriers will head back to Lewisburg, for a chance at not only redemption, but for a chance to win their fourth consecutive Patriot League Tournament and punch a ticket to the coveted NCAA Tournament.
The Terriers have rattled off a nine game unbeaten streak since the loss to the Bison, including eight straight wins in conference play. The second half surge helped BU claim a share of the Patriot League Regular Season Title for the second straight year. The head-to-head loss to Bucknell, however, put them as the second seed for the tournament.
Coach Nancy Feldman’s squad will have to win two games, Friday and Sunday, if they want to keep their season alive. On Friday evening, the Terriers will play a familiar foe in the fifth-seeded Navy Midshipmen, who lost at Nickerson Field not even a week ago.
In the quarterfinals, Navy defeated Colgate in Hamilton, N.Y. by a score of 2-0. The Mids used two goals from Cat Macklin and Ash Fairow to live to see another day.
Navy has a potent offensive attack led by All-Patriot league members Clare MacAdam and Rachel Feldman who combined to score 33 points on the year. However, the Terriers were able to stifle the Mids attack last Saturday when they beat the visitors 2-0.
In fact, the Terrier defense has stifled everyone in conference play, allowing just five goals in nine conference games. The defensive line is led by senior tri-captain Rachel Bloznalis, who was recently named PL Defender of the Year.
After an 0-10 start to the season, this group of Terriers has certainly conquered adversity. This weekend will mark another test of that adversity, but if they can win these next two games, what a turnaround it would be.
During that winless run, BU ranked nearly dead last in Division 1 in goals per game. But since the loss to Bucknell, the Terriers have averaged two goals per game. Feldman credits much of the recent offensive success to senior Erica Kosienski, who has two goals in her last two games, and is someone Feldman called the best offensive player in the league last week.
If the Terriers were to get by Navy on Friday night, they would presumably play top-ranked Bucknell on Sunday. (Bucknell plays sixth-seeded Lafayette on Friday). The Bison finished the regular season at 14-1-2 and their star-striker, Kendall Ham, took home Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year honors.
A BU vs. Bucknell final would be fitting, figuring they were the two best teams in the conference all season. It would also mark a rematch of last year’s Patriot League Tournament Final where the Terriers won 2-1 in dramatic fashion in the 90th minute.
Last year’s loss is surely still in the minds of the Bison players, especially the key upperclassmen like Ham, Alexis Gannon, and All-League goalkeeper Jessica Ratner. Last year it went through Boston, this year it will have to go through Lewisburg.
Kickoff of the first semifinal game between #6 Lafayette vs. #1 Bucknell is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Friday while #5 Navy vs. #2 Boston U is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. The championship game on Sunday is scheduled for 1 p.m.
All games this weekend can be seen live on the Patriot League Network.