By: Marisa Ingemi
For the first time in 2017, Boston University will play at Nickerson Field. The Terriers host the Bryant Bulldogs in their home opener just three day after completing a four game road trip to open the season.
Off the heels of a thrilling 8-7 victory over Navy in Annapolis, the Terriers begin their season 4-0 for the first time in program history. BU enters the week ranked in two of the three national polls and receiving national acclaim following Jack Wilson’s game winning goal at Navy.
“It was a program win,” said head coach Ryan Polley. “All phases of the game we played well, I give creit to a couple of guys. It was one of those games where as it goes on, guys redeem themselves. It makes you proud of those moments because you trust your guys and if they make bad plays they can’t quite get over it.”
He referenced Homire making two mistakes before scoring the sixth goal for BU to snap a 6-0 Navy run, and freshman Chase Levesque recovering after losing his stick on a Navy goal and bouncing back to help cause the turnover that led to the BU game winner.
Led by a combined six goals from Wilson and Cal Dearth, the BU offense struggled to move the ball around as effectively as they did in their previous three contests, but that is a product of facing a Navy defense that was the toughest they will see all season.
“They have the best rope unit in the country,” Polley said. “Their D middies are unbelievable. They made it really difficult for us, Rees might be the best in the country. They’re really hard to score on and were lucky that Cal stepped up for us and Jack had a really strong game at attack.”
After a diverse first two weeks, the team offense has settled down to be reliant on both Dearth and Wilson along with the usual suspects Brendan Homire and James Burr, and freshman John Maclean.
At 2-2 this season, the Bulldogs are coming off of a 17-11 victory over Hartford after back to back losses to Bucknell and Providence, both one goal games.
Bryant is led by Tucker James, one of the best offensive players in the NEC. He has 20 points this season, 13 of them goals.
“Nobody really knows about him but he’s one of the best in New England and maybe the country,” said Polley.
In net, junior James Werner has been tasked with replacing Gunnar Waldt, the former Bulldogs goalie who went pro. He has an impressive save percentage of 56%.
This is the first regular season matchup between the two teams after the Terriers hosted Bryant in pre season play last year.
“We’re completely different than we were last year,” said Polley. “They are too, with their goalie gone. Midweek games, you rely on what you do. There’s one or two things Bryant does different than other teams that’s unconventional, but we’re excited about it.”
“I think it’s more or less our senior leadership has been great. Been times in the past a game would have got awau from us, like Bucknell last year. Kind of lost focus and a two goal game becomes a five or six goal game, it’s difficult to come back from. The Providence game, when it got to four we weren’t feeling great but reached in deep and seniors reached in deep. This team is really resilient and understands we’ve been there.”