MEN'S SOCCER: BC Knocked Out Of NCAA Tournament By Northeastern In First Round
Published: Monday, November 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
BROOKLINE — Dante Marini was all alone. The ball was on the other side of the field, as Nikko Lara got ready to take the throw-in. Instead, Lara used a flip-throw as the ball sailed into the box by the near post. Northeastern University’s Don Anding got his head on it, sending the ball to the far post, where Marini was uncovered. The sneaky 5-foot-3 forward headed the ball into the back of the net, and that was all the Huskies would need to end the Boston College men’s soccer season in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday night at Parsons Field.
“From this side of the coin, it’s hard losing on a flip-throw,” said head coach Ed Kelly. “But that’s life. I hate those things, flip-throws. But all in all, it was a good game for us, we thought we played very well.”
The goal came 13:54 into the first half, and despite their best attempt to tie the game in the next 76 minutes, the Eagles came up short.
“I thought we did enough to win the game,” Kelly said. “We shake hands, wish them well, and move on.”
The BC defense was stout for the majority of the game, except for the one scoring play. The defenders gravitated toward the ball as it came in on the flip-throw to the near post, but forgot about Marini at the far post, giving him a clear lane to put the ball into the net. Goalkeeper Justin Luthy, who finished the game with six saves, had no shot at stopping it.
Down 1-0, the Eagles began the second half with a purpose, trying to create more chances to score and extend their season.
“We pushed harder,” Kelly said. “We pushed Nana [Boateng] a little higher.”
That move nearly paid off with 28 minutes left in the game. Boateng received a leading pass into the box as he used his speed to push by a Northeastern defender. The goalie was charging out to cut down his angle, so Boateng chipped the ball over his head. He put just a little too much force on the ball, though, and it ended up going a few inches over the crossbar.
In the end, BC had nothing to show on the scoreboard for its second-half adjustments, as the Huskies tightly defended their one-goal lead.
“We were trying to attack while they were trying to defend because they had the goal, which is human nature,” Kelly said. “We just had a more psychological edge to go after it than they did. Unfortunately for us, we came out on the short end.”
Chris Ager and Colin Murphy both had near-goals early in the second half, but their shots were either just high or just wide.
“I thought we did really well,” Kelly said. “I thought they defended well. It was a good game. It was a great game for them.”
That’s the kind of season it’s been for BC, as the team hasn’t been able to catch much luck. Injuries have plagued the Eagles throughout the last few months, meaning that key players switch in and out of the starting lineup in any given game.
Kelly revealed after the game that All-ACC forward Charlie Rugg was still hurt during the game, and that didn’t help BC’s chances, as the team’s leading scorer only played for 56 minutes.
While Boateng came up scoreless in the loss, Kelly was impressed with his play and determination throughout the 90 minutes, and saw great strides in the freshman over the course of the season.
“I thought [Boateng] had a great game, even though he’s only a freshman,” Kelly said. “I’m sure he’s annoying to some people when you watch him play, but to watch where he started in the first part of the season till now, he’s improved tremendously.”
This was the final game for seven seniors: Luthy, Rugg, Murphy, Kyle Bekker, Isaac Taylor, Kevin Mejia, and Stefan Carter. Kelly said this group had been through the ups and downs of college soccer, but he greatly valued their contributions to BC.
“They’ve been at the NCAA [Tournament] every year, and they’ve been at the final of the ACC [Tournament],” Kelly said of his seniors. “They’ve been a great class. There’s been nothing boring about this group. It’s a great group. To watch them all grow was great.”