By Akshai Wadhwani October 1, 2017
BETHLEHEM, PA — They seemed to have all possible numbers against them. Their opponents were the conference leaders and displayed some of the best players in the Patriot League on their roster. Yet, in defiance of all odds, the Boston University men’s soccer team managed to come away with a 2-0 win against their juggernaut opponents, Lehigh University — a victory which holds enormous significance to the Terriers’ season.
As mentioned, BU entered the contest as absolute underdogs. The Mountain Hawks were on a five-match win streak, averaging 12 shots and almost two goals per game. Their forward, Mark Forrest, led the league in goals with six on the year, while another attacker, Doyle Tuvesson, likewise topped the league in assists with five.
Certain elements of Saturday evening’s fixture went as predicted, to be sure. The Mountain Hawks garnered 15 shots total — compared to BU’s seven — and 10 corner kicks. Defensive statistics also panned out according to the books. Lehigh, owner of the most efficient defense in the Patriot League with just 75 fouls coming into the match, committed a meager eight offenses; the Terriers came into the game on the opposite end, with a league-low 145 fouls — and committed 26 against their Pennsylvania opponents.
Ultimately, however, the match came down to which team was able to take advantage of their scoring opportunities. That team was BU. The Terriers and the Mountain Hawks each had four shots on goal, but unlike their scoreless hosts, the former successfully converted on two of those chances.
First, a penalty kick in the ninth minute was put home by freshman midfielder Toti Knutsson. Then, in the 74th minute, the Icelandic native squared a ball into the middle of the box for sophomore Mana Chavali to blast home into the top corner. The Terriers kept their shutout through an unyielding defensive performance and four saves by returning goalkeeper Michael Bernardi.
BU’s victory lifts them to 2-0 in Patriot League play for the first time in three years, and 3-6-1 overall. But perhaps what is of utmost importance is that the result signifies that the Terriers have seemingly recovered from the dismal form they experienced at the start of the season. BU began their campaign with five straight losses, conceding 13 goals while scoring none.
Since then, they have beaten crosstown rival Harvard, 1-0, tied Princeton 1-1 after playing both extra time halves with ten men on the field, defeated American, 2-0, lost a very close match to Brown, 2-1, and now conjured an upset against Lehigh. The winds look infinitely more favorable for the Terriers than they did when the season began. It would appear that there is more good to come.
Next Up: The Terriers return to Nickerson Field on Wednesday to face Holy Cross at 7 P.M., in the annual Turnpike Trophy interstate contest.