By: Brady Gardner
BOSTON, MA – Returning home to Nickerson Field on Saturday afternoon, the BU men’s soccer team defeated the American University Eagles, 2-1, to end their three-game winless streak.
This Patriot League matchup was a true six-pointer in relation to the division standings, with American (1-4-2) and BU (2-4-2) heading into the fixture sitting nearly even in the conference table. The implications were clearly in the minds of both teams; the squads worked to feel out each other in the early minutes, splitting corner kick opportunities, but remained scoreless through the majority of the first half.
Despite the Eagles holding a 6-3 advantage in shots, BU struck first in the 42nd minute through the right foot of junior Satchel Cortet. After having a shot turned away just seconds before, Cortet pounced on a cross from senior T.J. Butzke, finding the bottom corner with a sliding effort from close range for his third career goal.
The Terriers started the second half on the front foot, peppering freshman goalkeeper Lucas Manso with three shots within the first five minutes of the half. However, American was able to weather the storm and come up with three opportunities of their own through corner kicks. The third proved the most dangerous, with BU’s senior goalkeeper Mike Bernardi making a key stop to maintain the clean sheet.
Bernardi has arguably been the Terriers’ best player since junior Matt McDonnell left the lineup due to injury. Coming off a 14-save performance in Princeton, and another valiant effort at Harvard, the senior continued to be BU’s hot hand against American.
“I’m just trying to do my role, make one or two big saves a game, keep us in it, and give us a chance to win the game,” Bernardi said.
Sophomore Austin D’Anna added insurance in the 60th minute. The score came off a nice link-up play between freshman Kari Petursson and sophomore Peter Kargbo, with the ball eventually finding its way to the striker for him to do the rest.
“He’s definitely coming in the right direction,” BU head coach Neil Roberts said about D’Anna, whose goal was his second in as many games.
The game was still far from over, however, as American got one back through Fabio Massaro’s conversion of a penalty kick in the 63rd minute. With wind in their sails, the Eagles manufactured two more point-blank chances, both of which were blocked expertly by Bernardi. Led by their veteran goalkeeper, BU were able to cross the line and secure the coveted three points.
It was a major victory for the team, and an encouraging performance in their first fixture of the season against a Patriot League opponent.
“We came out with the right attitude and the right mentality, and we were able to put together a good 90 minutes,” Bernardi said.
The Terriers will look to continue their winning ways at Nickerson on Tuesday, September 25 against Brown.