By: Marisa Ingemi
If it’s anything like last year, it will be an exciting contest between Boston University and Navy this Saturday when the two Patriot League foes meet in Annapolis.
Yet, there is a lot that is not like last season.
In 2016, the Terriers took down the Midshipmen in a double overtime affair from Nickerson Field. Navy brings a much different group into this season’s match up, with Casey Rees out for the entire season and midfielder Jack Ray out for two weeks.
“I think we’re confident but not overconfident,” said head coach Ryan Polley. “They’re starting to realize a really good prep week translates to a good Saturday.”
Meanwhile, the Terriers are completely healthy. James Burr has rebounded from his early season knee injury while John MacLean has shown no ill effects of the injury that had him out of position in the fall, coming off of a Patriot League rookie of the week award.
“3-0 is the best you can start out a season,”said attackman Jack Wilson. “We have a lot of confidence and guys contributing right now.”
Cal Dearth is coming off of a career day against Hartford, a 12-5 victory for BU last Saturday. Ryan Hillburn has also effectively rebounded after being injured in parts of last year, and is now second on the team in points.
“We played a great game last week, and are getting better each week from Providence to Lowell to Hartford and string together good practices,” said Dearth. “The scout team did a great job for us in practice and projecting other players who play for the game.”
Christian Carson-Banister has faced a tremendous amount of shots this season, and Navy’s offense has shown signs of being a weakness.
Projected to be one of the best defensive teams in the nation, the Midshipmen gave up 15 goals each in their first two games of the season, albeit against two powerhouses in Maryland and Johns Hopkins.
The Navy defense is led by Chris Fennell, who the BU offense are already well aware of.
“It’s a product of two great offensive teams,” said Polley. “It’s partly a biproduct of great offenses, but their defense is still trying to find itself after graduating some really good players. They’re going to be a really tough defense to go against.”
“I think that comes with just preparing internally,” said Wilson. “Our scout defense does a great job, like coach Polley said before the Hartford game, that squad really prepares us for success.”
In net for the Mids is freshman Ryan Kern, who has been impressive in his first few games as a starting goalie, replacing graduating senior John Connors.
“We try to just figure out his tendencies,” Polley said. “They’ve been great at goalie for as long as I can remember. They do a great job of forcing you to take outside shots under pressure. Kern’s off to a great start, and a great player, so we have to watch our shot selection.”
Game time is at 1:00 p.m. from Annapolis where BU looks for its first 4-0 start in program history.