MEN'S SOCCER: Eagles Unable To Keep Up With Brown
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
Two steps forward, one step back.
Since starting the season at an abysmal 2-3-1, the Boston College men’s soccer team had strung together a seven-game unbeaten run, five of those coming as victories. Yet Brown (10-1-2, 2-0-1 Ivy) brought the Eagles down to earth with merely 3:47 remaining in regulation on Tuesday evening in Chestnut Hill, as striker Ben Maurey notched the only goal of a heartbreaking 1-0 loss for BC (7-4-3, 2-1-2 ACC).
Head coach Ed Kelly’s team had put together an impressive streak of 485 minutes and two seconds without allowing the opposition to score. Maurey made sure that this streak, which had lasted for three games, would not reach a fourth.
The goal was beautifully set up by Brown midfielder Tom McNamara. The senior collected a loose ball in his defensive half of the field, sidestepped a defender, and sent a long ball to the top of the 18-yard box.
The two Eagle central defenders, Chris Ager and Nick Corliss, miscommunicated and somehow allowed Maurey to get in behind them. The sophomore forward collected the ball off of his chest, pushed it into open space, and slotted it home to the far post of keeper Justin Luthy’s goal.
With 3:47 remaining on the clock, the Eagles were as good as beaten when the ball hit the back of the net.
“We played fine, it was a pretty even game,” Kelly said. “I thought that was just a shocking goal to give away. I don’t exactly know what our defense was thinking. One guy was running one way, another the other way, and there was no cover. That’s all. It didn’t look like anything was going to happen, and then we give them a stupid goal. Bad organization in the back and we gift them a stupid goal, that’s really all there is to say.”
That defensive error aside, the game was a stalemate for the better part of the 90 minutes. The first half produced very few good opportunities for either team, as the Eagles outshot Brown 8-2.
The only true first-half chance came after the 25-minute mark, when BC midfielder Colin Murphy’s strike barely glanced the woodwork on its way over the net.
Much of this can be credited to the two defenses, as Brown has given itself a reputation for being notoriously hard to score on this season. The Bears have allowed a mere seven goals through 13 games this season, and have picked up eight shutouts to date. Senior goalkeeper Sam Kernan-Schloss earned his seventh shutout of the campaign, registering four saves.
“They’re a very good defensive team,” Kelly said. “They have some big, strong athletes who play good soccer and don’t give much away easily. I don’t think we did enough in the offensive end, but they didn’t give anything away either. Credit to their defense.”
The run of play was certainly in BC’s favor in the first half, and Kelly acknowledged as much. He sounded a bit defeated as he stated, “We had a couple of chances early in the first half, same as in the Clemson game. We couldn’t finish them off, and it hurt us.”
The tide began to turn against the Eagles late in the second half, as Brown took most of the initiative going forward. BC played with what appeared to be a lone striker, Charlie Rugg, for most of the game. Freshman Derrick Boateng, who had been featured in every game this season, was absent from the lineup due to injury. With Rugg isolated and Boateng on the bench, the Eagles appeared to stagnate in the offensive third late in the game.
Kelly’s team will wrap up the regular season with three perennially tough ACC matchups, as they go on the road to face Duke and North Carolina on either side of entertaining Virginia at home. Each of these games will be crucial for Kelly’s squad, and the coach took a mentality of “moving onto the next one” following this tough loss.
“We’ve got to bounce back,” he said. “We need to go down to Duke and get a result, then do the same with Virginia here and go beat North Carolina. We need to end up with a quarterfinal game at home [in the ACC tournament]. That’s our goal.”