By: Brady Gardner
BOSTON, MA – On Wednesday night, the BU men’s soccer team (3-6-2, 2-1-0 in PL) took home a 1-0 victory in the annual Turnpike Trophy fixture at Holy Cross (2-4-4, 1-1-1 in PL).
Looking to bounce back from a deflating overtime loss to Lehigh over the weekend, the Terriers made the 43-mile trek down the Massachusetts Turnpike to take on a Crusader team that had gone three games without a loss. With both teams looking to continue their climb up the Patriot League, this mid-week matchup had major table implications.
While this year’s BU squad has developed a reputation as a team that tends to save its scoring for the second half, in this match they got on the board early—and decisively.
Freshman forward John Siracuse finished off a cross from sophomore Max Aunger in the 14th minute, marking a special goal for the tandem of underclassmen with the first tally of his collegiate career and Aunger’s first assist at BU. Junior midfielder Satchel Cortet was once again involved in the buildup, providing the pass to Aunger that sent the latter streaking into a crossing position on the left wing.
The offensive onslaught went on for the Terriers, as junior Mana Chavali nearly doubled his side’s lead in the 25th minute after an error from Crusader goalkeeper Henry Stutz. Much to the relief of the senior netminder, Chavali’s effort soared just inches wide to the right.
Holy Cross put together a series of dangerous opportunities from set pieces to close out the half, but could not find the final connection to level the score before the break. Returning to the locker rooms, the Terriers held a 6-5 shot advantage and the game’s only goal.
The Crusaders came out flying in the second half, getting a pair of chances from close range off a corner kick in the 48th minute. Neither attempt found the back of senior Mike Bernardi’s net, but Holy Cross was not done just yet. Less than twenty minutes later, the hosts had their closest opportunity of the night via a high, arcing shot that struck the crossbar in the 64th minute.
As time began to dwindle, the Crusaders continued their relentless pressure of the Terrier back line, threatening with 13 shots in the second half alone. However, the BU defense remained resilient, holding off each wave of Crusader attackers. With less than ten minutes to play, senior defender David Riccio made a crucial block on a low driven shot that was destined for the back of Bernardi’s net.
With the final whistle, the Terriers secured their first clean sheet of the season and their second win in three games of Patriot League play. Head coach Neil Roberts will surely be proud of the defensive performance, as BU managed to avoid conceding despite being more than doubled in shots on the night, 18-8.
The Terriers will look to make it two Patriot League wins in a row when they host Lafayette on Saturday, October 6 at 3 p.m.