By: Ethan Fuller
BOSTON – In a grueling matchup between two of the Patriot League’s powerhouses, the Boston University women’s soccer team knocked off unbeaten Navy by a score of 1-0 on Friday night.
With the victory, the Terriers (5-7-2) move into first place in the Patriot League, sitting atop the standings with a conference record of 4-0-1. Colgate sits right behind at 3-0-1, while the Midshipmen of Navy fall to 4-1-0 (7-4-3 overall).
The contest was a rugged affair between two strong offenses, but BU’s attack controlled most of the first half. They forced three early corners in the first ten minutes of play and shot six times in the first half. One, a header from Shannon Keefe, ricocheted off the left post before being swallowed up by Navy keeper Sydney Fortson.
Conversely, the Mids managed only one attempt and struggled to generate pressure during the first 45 minutes. They had a couple of runs down the field, but their hopes were continually squashed by an aggressive BU defense.
The second half started similarly, with the Terriers continually pushing the ball into the offensive third. However, Navy eventually broke through with some scoring opportunities as the half progressed. Karli Sottung sent a shot that sailed just over the hands of Terrier goalie Morgan Messner, and mere inches over the crossbar.
Then in the 88th minute, senior McKenna Doyle wrestled the ball away from a Navy defender and passed to Taylor Kofton. The freshman launched a ball from just outside the box that crested over the outstretched arms of Sydney Fortson and into the left corner of the net. The goal broke the 0-0 stalemate and became the match’s only score.
For Kofton, it was her third tally of the year and third of her last two games. She’s broken through during the Terriers’ hot streak as a force to be reckoned with.
BU has now won its last four contests while shutting out every opponent. Morgan Messner put her body on the line to make a few critical saves during the game, locking up her third straight shutout. The team has not allowed a goal in the past 449 minutes of action.
Nancy Feldman cites the relentless offensive energy as the catalyst for the strong defensive numbers.
“I think it starts with attacking well and winning 50-50 balls so that you’re spending less time defending,” she said. “When we do have to defend in our back third, I think our kids really can dig in and bend but don’t break.”
The Mids play a physical brand of soccer and it showed up on Friday. Navy was called for 11 fouls, while BU was whistled five times, and multiple players dealt with injuries. Feldman agreed that her team showed its strong will on Friday, but pointed out that this squad has been gritty all season long.
“Our team is tough. I didn’t need to have Navy put us to a test to know that,” Feldman said. “They’re very tough-minded, they’ll play as physically as they can…They have a great mentality.”
Fueled by a crucial victory, the Terriers travel across the Charles River next Tuesday to take on the Harvard Crimson (4-4-1). The fixture marks the end of Boston University’s nonconference slate and kicks off at 7 P.M.