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MEN'S SOCCER: Maryland Throttles Eagles

Assoc. Sports Editor

Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

soccer

Graham Beck / Heights Editor

On Friday night, the No. 24 Boston College men’s soccer team was dominated at home, 4-0, by No. 4 Maryland in its first ACC match of the season. The game saw an evenly matched first half before the Terps pulled away in the second with three goals. Head coach Ed Kelly gave credit to the tough Maryland squad, however, he felt his team’s downfall came by way of the turnover.

“We didn’t protect the ball enough,” he said. “They’re a better team than we are, so I’m not making any excuses. That’s a quality college soccer team. However, with that said, the first [goal] is a bad clearance, the second [goal] is a bad clearance, and the third [goal] is a bad clearance. The game is over.”

The Eagles came out quickly in the first half. In particular, forward Kevin Mejia utilized his speed to create several breakaway opportunities down the pitch. Regardless, the home squad was unable to net any shots. On the other side of the field, the veteran presence of defenders Chris Ager and Ryan Dunn limited Maryland’s lethal scoring attack.

Senior Charlie Rugg, who had not seen game action all season due to an injury, entered the game off the bench for the Eagles with about 16 minutes left in the half. Rugg may have created BC’s greatest scoring opportunity when a Maryland defender slid into him on a breakaway just in front of the box. The officials awarded the Eagles a free kick, which was taken by Kyle Bekker. The shot was blocked by the Terrapin’s defensive effort, sending the ball out of bounds.

“We were fine at the first half,” Kelly said of his team’s initial play. “We don’t give that goal away, we should be up 1-0. Unbelievable save by the goalkeeper. Bekks had a cracking shot. So we really had no adjustments to make. Then they come out and give them another one. So, emotionally and psychologically, it just puts a dagger in your heart.”

With 6:10 left in the half, Maryland took the lead when Christiano Francois, coming off the bench, knocked an unassisted goal past BC goalkeeper Justin Luthy. Francois was originally stripped of the ball though the box, but regained control and sent it to the back of the net to put the Terps up 1-0.

The second half saw the Eagles unable to regain any momentum, and Maryland came out firing on all cylinders. Three minutes into the second half, a turnover gave the visiting team a chance to increase its lead. Patrick Mullins stole a pass from the Eagles, sending it to Sunny Jane down the center of the pitch. Jane found Schillo Tshuma, who finished the play with a shot to the back of the net.

With the Terps up 2-0, the Eagles could not find any way to lessen the deficit. Offensively, there were very few opportunities for the home team, while Maryland seemed to move the ball seamlessly down the field. At the 69:54 mark, Jake Pace added to his team’s lead with an assist from Francois. Pace took the shot from the far corner at about 16 yards out for the score. The final goal of the match came at the 80:11 mark when Widner Saint Cyr finished a corner shot, putting the Terps up 4-0.

Though Kelly said that his team is starting to shape up with players like Rugg and Bekker coming back from injuries, the whole unit will need to regain its composure and think forward to Friday’s match against Virginia Tech.

“Charles really hasn’t been practicing with us at all, so that’s the first thing,” Kelly said. “Then we just need to have some character, put this behind us, and move on to the next game. That’s it. Admit we got beat by a better team, lick the wounds, and move on.”

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