By: Akshai Wadhwani October 28, 2017
BOSTON — The stakes were sky high for the Boston University women’s soccer team in their last fixture of the regular season. A draw would be enough to see them through to a fourth place finish in the Patriot League. A loss would put them at risk of losing that fourth seed to Lehigh.
As it turned out, neither of those results were satisfactory to the Terriers. Instead, BU put together an all-around solid performance as they took down Colgate, 3-1, to close out the season with a home victory.
The win finalizes a 9-7-3 regular season for the Terriers, with their Patriot League record at 6-2-1. More importantly, however, it vaults them two points clear of the Raiders and into third place in the league standings. With that No. 3 seed, BU will have a more favorable matchup heading into the conference playoffs.
Colgate, meanwhile, has now dropped points in each of their last three matches, with two losses and a draw to finish out their regular season. Their loss to the Terriers sees them plummet two spots into fifth place, with Lehigh taking the fourth seed as a result of their victory over Holy Cross.
BU got off the mark with a quick-fire brace from co-captain Jacki Carty. First, in the 27th minute, a free kick from Erin Neville trickled through a crowd of outstretched legs and found Carty wide open at the far post; the senior midfielder acted quickly, putting a side-footed shot past Raider goalkeeper Kelly Chiavaro to give the Terriers the lead.
Carty struck again less than two minutes later off another set piece, this time a corner kick. A delivery from the right side triggered a scramble for the ball as several BU players attempted to get shots off while surrounded by desperate Colgate defenders. The ball eventually ended up in the air and floated towards the left post. As Chiavaro rushed off her line to catch it, Carty met her at the left post and stuck out her right leg to poke the ball into the bottom right corner.
The senior now has three career goals as a Terrier, all of which have come this season. Head coach Nancy Feldman commended Carty’s contributions — not only in Saturday’s game, but throughout the season.
“She’s had a great impact, because she’s a fantastic leader,” Feldman said. “She just does everything right. She’s just such a generous, supportive teammate, but also holds a high standard, and has high expectations of herself and others. And people don’t want to disappoint her. That’s the best leader of all: People don’t want to disappoint you.
“She’s just a rock. I thought she had a heck of a game, regardless of scoring goals or not. I thought she was a dominant force in the match. What a way to step up on Senior Day…Jacki really had to carry the load today, and I thought she really was a difference maker for sure.”
Colgate, however, fought back immediately as Abby Sotomayor halved the deficit in the 30th minute. As the Raider forward received a pass on the left side of the penalty box, BU center back Rachel Bloznalis overcommitted in an attempt to challenge for the ball. Sotomayor swiftly turned with a quick touch on her right foot to break free, then finished across Terrier keeper Amanda Fay into the bottom right corner. BU’s two-goal advantage had lasted all of 70 seconds.
In-game action was hard to come by from there on out, with little in the way of scoring opportunities for either team. Several stoppages occurred towards the end of the first and second halves. Colgate’s leading goalscorer, Mara Cosentino, eventually left the match injured after two other Raiders were downed briefly earlier in the contest. BU’s Libby Closson also went off for some time with an apparent minor injury.
The match grew heated in the last twenty minutes, with a string of fouls on both ends. Colgate’s Sotomayor received a yellow card when she took down Bloznalis from behind. Then, in a pivotal point in the match, the Raider forward was sent off four minutes later.
This time, she slid into Bloznalis with a late challenge as the latter cleared the ball upfield, leaving the Terrier center back crumpled in a heap on the ground. Sotomayor was immediately shown red as BU’s medical staff, accompanied by Feldman, rushed onto the pitch to treat the downed Bloznalis. The senior stayed on the ground for some time before being helped to her feet; luckily, she returned to the pitch later in the match.
Colgate was thus reduced to ten players, and deprived of their prime offensive outlet for the rest of the match. BU pressed their advantage and, with just over five minutes left, produced a contender for the goal of the season.
Chelsea Churchill delivered the strike, with Neville bagging her second assist of the match. The play began with Neville, who won the ball along the right-hand touchline in Colgate’s half before sending a pass inside for Churchill. The junior took one touch, then looped a high, arcing shot from 25 yards out that curved all the way across the goal and over the head of a helpless Chiavaro into the top left corner.
The screamer was the perfect end to a match where the Terriers were absolutely dominant. BU held the Raiders to seven shots, with just two on target. The hosts mustered 12 shots with eight on frame, forcing five saves out of Chiavaro. BU’s Fay made just one save in the entire match, coming out to block a close-range shot from Colgate’s Sotomayor as she got her foot to a cross from teammate Emily Crichlow. Both teams finished with seven corner kicks.
Speaking after the 3-1 victory, Jacki Carty pointed out a full squad effort — something which has been a recurring success for the Terriers this season.
“I think just the total team effort that we gave today really showed,” she commented. “[Colgate] gave us a run for our money in the second half, but we were really able to hold tight and get away with the win today.”
Coach Nancy Feldman agreed with Carty’s sentiments.
“I thought we played a pretty complete game. I thought from start to finish we had a very good focus about how we wanted the game to go and what we had to do to be successful,” Feldman said. “I think overall, we had a good grasp of the game.
“We’re going into the tournament having learned a lot from the season — and now it’s performance time. Today was the first step in that.”
Next Up: The Terriers will host Lafayette on Halloween in the Patriot League quarterfinals. Kickoff time is yet to be determined.