By: Marisa Ingemi
As Boston University has grown as a program, it has continued to add more difficult opponents to its schedule. One of those was Bryant, whom the Terriers defeated on Tuesday. The other is Air Force, the Terriers’ opponent on Saturday.
The Falcons come into Nickerson Field as one of BU’s most intriguing opponents. Highlighted by an early season win over Duke, Air Force has had a strange schedule. Blowout wins over programs such as Canisius and Cleveland State are washed by losses to Denver and a stunning 10-4 loss to Marist.
BU, meanwhile, is riding a high after a 5-0 start to open the season, its first such in program history. Led by Tewaaraton Award candidate Cal Dearth, the Terrier offense has exploded to be one of the deepest at least in the Patriot League.
On Tuesday, BU held tough against a Bryant team that couldn’t get going until late in the contest. Christian Carson-Banister is putting up national leading statistics in the cage while his defense around him has shut down opponents.
Perhaps most importantly, the Terriers have been nearly perfect on clears in the past two games against Navy and Bryant, going 32-for-35. The possession game has been on point despite star face-off specialist Sam Talkow still not seeing the field yet in 2017.
One spot of struggled for BU has been the man down unit, which allowed four goals on five attempts to the Bulldogs on Tuesday. Of similar issue are the Falcons, giving up six man up goals on 13 attempts from their foes.
Air Force comes into the contest having caused 16 turnovers this season and its defense has been aggressive to opponents, similar to BU’s defense. The Terriers have been able to find success on both transition and extended possessions, with their crisp passing now becoming a hallmark of their attack.
BU will try to get shots past Air Force freshman goalie Paxton Boyer. He’s saved 48% of the shots he faced and received acclaim for his performance in an 11-10 victory over Duke.
Offensively, Chris Walsch, also a Tewaaraton Award candidate, leads the team with 11 goals and 18 total points. Nick Hruby also has ten goals and Andrew Tien has nine points.
This is one of the most difficult non-conference games on BU’s schedule all season, and a victory should get them in the national conversation.