By: Brady Gardner
BOSTON, MA – Following a midweek loss to Northeastern, the BU men’s soccer team (3-8-3, 2-2-1 in PL) enters a crucial stretch of Patriot League fixtures to conclude their 2018 regular season. The set of four conference clashes will begin on Saturday night against Navy (1-11-1, 0-5-0 in PL).
The Terriers are looking to rebound from a frustrating 2-0 loss at the hands of their Boston rivals, in which a young lineup impressed at times, but ultimately could not outlast the visiting Huskies. A few bright spots for BU in the match included freshman Chris Espinoza, taking over in the back line for injured senior Josh Barkoff, and sophomore netminder William Bonnelyche, who put together a couple of superb saves in place of senior standout Mike Bernardi.
The main struggles from the Terriers came in the attacking third, where the likes of freshman duo John Siracuse and Kari Petursson looked encouraging in the buildup, but were unable to find the final bit of quality to break Northeastern’s clean sheet. Still, with multiple attacking options unavailable for BU, this match was an opportunity for the two rookies, as well as sophomores Toti Knuttson and George Abunaw, to get some learning experience in a rivalry game against a solid Northeastern squad.
Looking to gain some momentum and confidence on offense, the Terriers could not ask for a better matchup than against a floundering Navy side that has been outscored 14-5 in Patriot League play this season and 25-11 in all competitions. As a team that has failed to score more than one goal in any game since September 22, BU will look to get on the board early and often against the Midshipmen’s vulnerable back line.
Up the pitch, Jacob Williams will be the biggest threat to the Terrier defense. The freshman has been a revelation of sorts for Navy, leading the team with four goals in his first season with the club. In addition, six different players have provided assists for the Midshipmen, indicating the potential for chances to be created from any area in the attacking half.
Both teams are opening a run of four Patriot League matchups to conclude their respective seasons, and there is plenty of potential for movement in a very competitive conference table. Unsurprisingly, Navy sit at the bottom of the standings with a record of 0-5 in Patriot League play. With a win, the Midshipmen could gain ground on Holy Cross, who only have a win and a tie in the league. Meanwhile, BU find themselves in sixth out of the conference’s ten teams, but could surpass both American and Colgate with a victory this weekend.
With important points at stake, the Terriers will look to take advantage of a struggling Navy XI and gain momentum ahead of highly-anticipated matchups with Army, Bucknell, and Colgate. BU currently leads the all-time series between the two sides 4-1-0, with the lone loss coming in 2013.
The match will be played at Navy’s Glenn Warner Facility at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 20.