By: Brady Gardner
BOSTON – Taking on Bucknell (6-7-3, 3-4-1 in PL) in their last home match of the regular season, the BU men’s soccer team (5-9-3, 4-3-1 in PL) fought to a 2-1 overtime victory on Senior Day at Nickerson Field.
The Terriers came into the contest off of a crucial 1-0 win over Army, with an early goal from freshman Kari Petursson propelling them into the sixth and final playoff position. However, a postseason berth was still far from sealed, as the Scarlet and White remained just one point clear of seventh following their victory over the Black Knights.
Bucknell had their own table concerns ahead of the match, sitting tied with BU for the final playoff seed. With the Bison taking on a surging Navy side and the Terriers meeting third-place Colgate in each club’s respective regular season finales, this clash was a must-win for both sides.
As is generally the case in high-stakes matchups, the two squads spent much of the opening half feeling out their counterparts and put together five shots apiece through the first 45 minutes. Bucknell converted on one of their attempts, with freshman Alex Clarke finishing off a surging run in the 40th minute with a strike past senior goalkeeper Mike Bernardi.
Clarke’s goal came against the run of play for the Bison, as BU had held the advantage in possession for much of the first half. However, the Terriers did not manage a single shot on goal in the opening half, and headed into the halftime break trailing 1-0.
The Bison came out the gate on the front foot as the second half began, threatening with multiple dangerous opportunities — including a low driven shot that glanced off the post to Bernardi’s left.
The Terriers, however, weathered the storm, and after a run of consistent pressure in the attacking third finally found the equalizer in the 69th minute. The goal came off a free kick that fell to junior Satchel Cortet on the end line, who provided an intelligent pass back for senior captain David Riccio to tap into the back of the net. The first goal of the center back’s collegiate career marked a critical tally in a major Patriot League clash.
Regulation time concluded with a flurry of opportunities on both sides, as BU saw a headed chance from Petursson narrowly miss, and another from sophomore George Abunaw called offside. On the defensive end, Bernardi kept the score level with a few sprawling saves and sparked the counterattack with effective distribution.
All seven previous matches between these two sides had gone to overtime, so it was somewhat fitting that this meeting would come down to the extra period as well. In the additional frame, BU appeared to find a second wind, relentlessly sending waves of attacks towards the Bison defense.
With a game-winner appearing to be imminent, BU’s golden goal came in the 97th minute off the head of senior forward Adam Wright. Petursson provided a curling cross timed perfectly with the run of Wright, whose powerful header into the back of the net sent the home fans into a frenzy.
Having both goals on Senior Day scored by seniors — in what will likely be the latter’s final game at Nickerson Field — made for a fairy tale ending for the Terriers. The goals undoubtedly meant a lot to these seniors and their families, but they also held great significance to their team, who all but secured a playoff berth with a head-to-head victory over a Bucknell side competing for the same playoff position.
The Terriers will finish their season on the road against Colgate on Friday, November 2 at 6 p.m.