If there was anything that the Boston University soccer team could take away from a hard won victory, it was that they were improving. This is how Coach Neil Roberts, now in his 27th season, detailed the 1-0 win over Big East opponents Providence College Friars.
“We needed a big win against a good team,” he said.
The Terriers went into the game with a 3-1 record for their last four games. On top of that, goalkeeper Nick Thompson was recently named American East rookie of the week after stopping five combined shot attempts against Harvard and Hartford.
As the game got under way, it was apparent that the Terriers were in control of the game, leading in possession throughout the first half. It rained throughout the game, making ball handling an issue for the players. Possession would at times be lost due to the simple inability to keep hold of the slick ball.
The team kept a strong, short passing movement throughout the game, thanks in part to freshman wingback Taylor Washington. Washington kept marauding along the wing, providing solid passes and offering another offense option.
The BU defense was also on display, mainly due to the hard work of sophomore center back Kelvin Madzongwe, who was a great anchor and leader for this young team. In addition to constantly anchoring the defense, he delivered powerful crosses to the midfield.
Going into the second half, the game was not as tight as the 0-0 scored would lead anyone to believe. Providence only had one shot on goal, compared to BU’s three, and the Friars only a single corner kick, again in comparison to BU’s three. As the second half got under way and the rain picked up, the Terriers kept putting together solid plays, including a near goal in the 63rd minute from freshman forward Dominique Badji, whose strong shot was denied by the left post.
Providence also tried to take advantage of the Terriers’ fatigue, putting together strong movement down field. However, their only real chance came in the 11th minute of the half, when the opportunity that a goalie error and an empty net provided was denied by the ever present Washington, who cleared the ball and dashed the Friar’s chance.
The deadlock stood until there were 2 minutes and 44 seconds left in the game. Midfielder Stephen Knox, a senior, put away the game-winning goal after receiving a cross from Washington, which he quickly put in the back of the net. He put the boys in white up by a goal, giving them the winning score they carried until the final whistle.
When asked about his winning goal, co-captain Knox was modest.
“It meant a lot for me that personally I scored,” Knox said, “but just winning the game was even better. I just play for the team.”
The game puts the Terriers at 5-5, at the end of their non-conference schedule and is great momentum going into Saturday’s conference home game against UMBC.