By: Matthew Doherty
BALTIMORE, Md. — With their season on the line and a berth to the NCAA Tournament up for grabs, the second-seeded Boston University men’s soccer team will head to Loyola Maryland this weekend for the Patriot League tournament. The Terriers will face-off against fifth-seeded Holy Cross, who knocked off Lehigh in the quarterfinals, Friday night in the semifinals
BU (7-8-3, 6-2-1 PL) finished their regular season last Friday in disappointing fashion when they dropped a home match to Colgate by a score of 4-0. A win would have clinched the Patriot League regular season title as well as home-field advantage in the tournament for Neil Robert’s squad.
Instead, Loyola Maryland won Saturday, knocking BU back to second place and forcing them to win the conference tournament on the road.
“It’s good to still be playing, that’s for sure,” Head Coach Neil Roberts said. “Holy Cross is playing well and they are scoring goals. We have our work cut out for us.”
The Terriers received a bye to the semifinals thanks to their second-place finish, but the Crusaders are coming in with momentum, riding a four-game unbeaten streak including a 3-0 road win over the Mountain Hawks in Tuesday’s quarterfinal.
Roberts acknowledged the importance of having the extra week of rest, especially after a loss like the one to Colgate.
“Obviously after the Colgate game, we’ve got to reloaded a little bit,” Roberts said. “But we have the players we’re going to have.”
Roberts and the Terriers have endured injury after injury this season from last year’s leading scorer, senior Anthony Viteri, to captain David Amirani. But BU has overcome the injuries, as well as an 0-5 start, to become one of the top teams in the Patriot League.
The second half success came on the feet of underclassmen like Toti Knutsson (3 goals, 5 assists) and Matt McDonnell (4 goals), as well as goalkeeper Michael Bernardi.
“Everyone’s really eager,” McDonnell said. “We’re really excited. I’m confident in our abilities that we’ll be able to get a win on Friday and hopefully Sunday.”
McDonnell netted one of his four goals of the season against Holy Cross earlier this fall in a game BU won, 3-0, at Nickerson Field.
A win on Friday would push the Terriers to the Patriot League Title game Sunday afternoon. Kickoff Friday between BU and Holy Cross is set for 8 p.m.
Top-seeded Loyola will take on sixth-seeded Colgate at 5 p.m. to start the doubleheader from Ridley Athletic Complex. Both games can be seen live on the Patriot League Network.