By Akshai Wadhwani September 16, 2017
BOSTON, MA – “Business as usual” was the motto for the BU women’s soccer team on Saturday afternoon, as they cruised to a 6-0 win over American University in their first fixture of the 2017 Patriot League campaign.
Having basked in a 31-3-2 record over the four years they have played in the conference, winning four league championships while averaging seven shutouts a year, the Terriers fulfilled their status as heavy favorites, coming away with the home victory.
Exploiting huge pockets of space left by the American defense, the Terriers struck twice within the first ten minutes of the match. The goals were set up in virtually identical fashion, with balls over the top sent to McKenna Doyle and Anna Heilferty in the 8th and 10th minutes of play, respectively. Doyle and Heilferty were also both greeted by an outrushing Amy Krotine; the former was able to lob a half-volleyed chip shot over the Eagles goalkeeper and into the bottom right corner, while Heilferty displayed first-rate composure as she dribbled around Krotine and rolled the ball into an unguarded net.
Christina Wakefield added BU’s third in the 23rd minute, and sophomore Chloee Sagmoe made it 4-0 before the half hour mark when she pounced on the scraps of a corner kick.
A heartwarming moment occurred a few minutes before the end of the first half, when senior midfielder and co-captain Jacki Carty headed the rebound off a corner kick into the back of the net for the first goal of her college career. With her playing time limited in past seasons by injuries, the Terrier crowd was ecstatic to see her get right off the mark in this year’s Patriot League campaign. Carty’s effort also earned her a round of emphatic cheering from her teammates in the post-match huddle.
Despite going into halftime up 5-0 and not allowing the Eagles a shot attempt, BU did not sit back or switch to a park the bus strategy in the final forty-five. Instead, they continued to apply offensive pressure.
The result was yet another goal in the 52nd minute; Pietra Sweeney’s cross cleared the outstretched arms of second half American goalkeeper Ryleigh Brown as she left her goal line amongst a crowd of bodies to intercept the ball. The criss then reached Wakefield at the far post; the Terrier forward held off two American defenders and poked the ball home for her second goal of the match and BU’s sixth.
In the last 20 minutes, proceedings began to slow as the Terriers eased up on offense, but remained staunchly protective of their clean sheet. BU keeper Amanda Fay spent most of the second half waiting for action as her back four, led by center backs Rachel Bloznalis and Alivya Wimmer, smothered the Eagles’ attack. In the end, the visitors were held to just three shots, with their sole attempt on target being a tame effort by winger Toni Williams, which rolled comfortably into the arms of Fay at her right post.
As the score line reached a wider and wider margin, BU head coach Nancy Feldman took the opportunity to explore the depth of her squad by bringing on a host of different players. Royce Light, Kiana Ghamarifard, Chelsea Churchill, Erin Neville, Kelly Park, Shannon Keefe, Kelly Harris, Jordan Bailey, and McKenna Kennedy—as well as the aforementioned Sagmoe and Carty—all made appearances off the bench for the Terriers.
“It’s great to get some of the young players, the players that don’t get a lot of significant playing time…here [on the pitch], to be able to showcase themselves,” Feldman said. “They get a chance to show what they’ve learned, and to continue to develop…This is a just reward for some gals, because who doesn’t want to showcase themselves on gameday?”
On the subject of players, notably absent from the BU roster was senior goalkeeper Hannah Ciolek, who has not made an appearance since colliding with an opponent in the final minutes of the Terriers’ 1-0 loss to Marquette. Though Fay was hardly troubled against the Eagles, BU will be hoping to have Ciolek back soon to continue the outstanding play between the sticks which has already won her an all-conference award this season.
Ultimately, however, the 6-0 triumph could not have been sweeter for the Terriers. On offense, the hosts took advantage of every scoring opportunity they had; on defense, they shut down every attack by the Eagles; and, perhaps most importantly, the entire team had a hand in the victory. Eight different players were directly involved in the afternoon’s goal-scoring—five scored the goals themselves, while three others provided assists. Eleven different Terriers recorded shot attempts, including six off the bench.
“It helps the spirit of the team,” Feldman remarked, commenting on the team effort. “Everybody feels like they’re a part of a win like this.”
Next Up: The Terriers will remain in Boston for a nonconference matchup with Dartmouth on Tuesday evening. Kickoff from Nickerson Field is set for 7 P.M.