By: Brady Gardner
BOSTON, MA – In the driving rain at Nickerson Field, the BU men’s soccer team (2-5-2) fell to yet another Ivy League opponent on Tuesday night with a 2-1 loss to Brown University (4-3).
Head coach Neil Roberts stressed ahead of the game that he would be experimenting with a few things in Tuesday’s game, with the fixture being a relatively insignificant nonconference matchup. The most notable change was sophomore goalkeeper William Bonnelyche taking over between the sticks for senior standout Mike Bernardi. The latter’s day off was much deserved, coming after a stretch of strong performances against Princeton, Harvard, and American.
The first half mainly featured both teams attempting to gain some traction in the wet conditions, with the two most clear-cut chances coming for Brown. In the 18th minute, freshman Derek Waleffe struck the post with a free kick, followed by junior Matthew Chow finding the outside of the post with an effort from just inside the box. Sophomore Toti Knutsson looked active for the Terriers, but the Bears’ freshman keeper Maxwell Waldau remained fairly comfortable throughout the half.
Coming out of the intermission, Brown got on the board first, with Chow curling a stunning free kick over the wall and into the top corner of Bonnelyche’s net. With their resilience being tested, BU came back with a positive response, stringing together positive possessions and forcing the Bears progressively further into their defensive half.
With the pressure mounting, it was freshman Kari Petursson who provided the tying tally. Matching Chow’s stunner with a beautiful strike of his own, Petursson’s shot from the edge of the box soared just below the bar with 11 minutes to play. In a starting XI comprised of several underclassmen, the impressive team play and the goal from the freshman winger were indications of a deep squad, and a bright future ahead.
However, BU would come back down to earth just minutes later, with one freshman’s goal being quickly negated by another’s at the opposite end. In the 83rd minute, Waleffe received the ball with a clear look at goal from a few yards outside the box before unleashing a shot that beat BU’s sophomore netminder, skipping along the wet turf into the bottom left corner. The Terriers managed to win a free kick in the 89th minute from a dangerous position, but could not convert to force the game to overtime.
While there were still plenty of positives to take away from a match that involved plenty of tinkering from Roberts, BU will come away winless against Ivy League competition this season. The Terriers will look to get back in the win column as they return to conference play against the current league leaders, Lehigh, later this week.
The divisional clash will take place at Nickerson Field at 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 29.