MEN'S SOCCER: BC Getting Healthier For VT
The Return Of Veterans Will Solidify The Offense
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
On Friday, the Boston College men’s soccer team will travel down to Blacksburg, Va. to face conference foe Virginia Tech. The Eagles (2-2-0, 0-1-0 ACC) are coming off a 4-0 loss to No. 3 Maryland, while the Hokies (3-2-0, 0-1-0) were downed by No. 1 North Carolina in their last match.
Head coach Ed Kelly says that this week’s practice has shown some challenges due to injuries, however the team is excited to have some veteran leaders return.
“We’re working hard, but Charlie’s still a little bit sore,” he said. “All in all, we’re getting healthy again. It’s taken some time to get these guys back, and we’ve had so many injuries that they’re still getting used to playing with each other again and that kind of stuff.”
Despite the final outcome of last week’s loss to the Terps, as well as its drop from the NCAA top-25 rankings, BC did have some positives come out of the match. The team looked poised in the first half, despite starting four freshmen against an experienced squad. Even more importantly, senior forward Charlie Rugg entered the game for the first time this season, recovering from a knee injury. Rugg, who was named to the All-ACC team last season, entered the game with 16 minutes left in the first half and played the remainder of the match. The return of their co-leading scorer should improve the Eagles’ chances in future play, especially with senior midfielder Kyle Bekker, who was tied with Rugg for the team lead in goals in 2011, back in action the last few games after injury.
“He’ll start at Va. Tech,” Kelly said of Rugg. “He’s ready to play. He’s just a bit rusty. But he’s playing and he’s getting better. Bekk’s back out there as well, we’ll get back that partnership they had.”
Last season, Rugg and Bekker combined for 16 goals and 12 assists, making their healthy returns a necessity for the Eagles this year.
Although it is early in ACC play, the Eagles have prepared hard for their trip. The Hokies pose a legitimate challenge to the Eagles, having won three 1-0 contests against Richmond, Temple, and St. Bonaventure. Junior forward David Clemens and freshman David Lauretano lead Va. Tech, with each having two goals in five games.
On the other side of the pitch, the Eagles have seen major production from senior Kevin Mejia, who currently leads the team with two goals, as well as freshman Jason Abbott, who has a goal and an assist. The key for the Eagles will be strengthening the back line, as goalkeeper Justin Luthy has given up six goals in four games to go along with 13 saves.
“We’re trying to get the defense straightened out a bit, because we have two new guys back there,” Kelly said. “We have some freshmen playing, so we’re just working on them and making sure that we’re not giving up silly goals. We’re working on better organization in the back.”
With the strong veteran presence of defenders Chris Ager and Ryan Dunn, the younger players will certainly have some experienced guidance, though the challenge of ACC play will be a true test of development on the fly, especially with the slow return of the front line.