By Akshai Wadhwani September 8, 2017
BOSTON, MA – The Boston University women’s soccer team fell 1-0 to the Golden Eagles of Marquette on Friday evening, in their seventh straight nonconference match. Despite dominating possession and playing most of the match in their opponents’ half, the Terriers were unable to break down a rigid Marquette defense; the Golden Eagles’ only shot of the match proved to be the difference between the two teams.
A one-time moment of lax defending in the 24th minute, in what was an otherwise brilliant performance by the BU backline, proved to be the hosts’ downfall. While playing a high line, the Terrier defense was caught unaware by the run of Marquette’s Darian Powell. The winger burst down the left flank on a pass, then sent an excellent grounded cross into the path of Golden Eagle forward Kylie Sprecher, who tapped the ball home for her second goal of the season.
That goal proved to be the only time the Terrier defense wavered. Led by phenomenal performances from center backs Rachel Bloznalis—a contender for Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year—and Alivya Wimmer, the back four stifled every Marquette attack and held them to a single shot over the course of the match, as well as zero corner kicks. They were helped in no small part by the aggressive play of midfielders Julianna Chen and Jesse Shreck, who pressed the Golden Eagles into giving the ball away and prevented them many times from getting out of their own half.
“It really was a team effort defensively,” head coach Nancy Feldman said of the Terriers’ defensive performance after the match. “We really never allowed Marquette to get in any kind of attacking rhythm. I’m really proud of the performance of the team…We really set the tone defensively.”
The crux for the Terriers was an inability to truly threaten the Marquette goal. Although the home side finished with a total of 25 shots, only seven were on target; their only chance worthy of note came in the 64th minute, when midfielder Erin Neville cut inside from the left wing and unleashed a powerful long-range strike which rattled the crossbar. Most other BU shots either sailed over the top of the goal or rolled comfortably to Henry.
In the end, the Terriers performed impressively with lots of offensive movement and plenty of positive play, but failed to come up with the final product needed to get on the scoreboard.
The final score line did not at all reflect the match itself. The Terriers played extremely well, generating plenty of offense and spending the vast majority of the match in possession while shutting down the Golden Eagles on defense. They listed 13 shots in the first half but failed to score against Marquette goalkeeper Maddie Henry, who recorded her fifth consecutive shutout of the season.
BU freshman Anna Heilferty put in another impressive outing after fantastic performances against Hofstra and Arizona State, making herself a threat all over the pitch. Forwards Christina Wakefield and Kiana Ghamarifard displayed sharp dribbling skills, while midfielder Dorie Varley-Barrett sliced open the Marquette defense with several deft passes.
The result sees Marquette record a sixth straight win, as well as a total of 472 minutes without conceding a goal. BU is now 1-4-2 and has lost a second straight match to the Golden Eagles after the teams’ only other meeting, in 2015, ended 3-0 in favor of the latter.
“I don’t think we deserved the loss,” Feldman remarked. “And I don’t say that very often.”
Next Up: The Terriers make a short trip to face crosstown rivals Boston College in Chestnut Hill on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 1 P.M.