MEN'S SOCCER: Overtime Goal Pushes BC Past Dartmouth
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Last night, the Boston College men’s soccer team (7-3-2) defeated non-conference opponent Dartmouth, 1-0, on an overtime header from senior Kyle Bekker at the Newton Sports Complex. The match came after the Eagles’ upset of Wake Forest last weekend, which concerned head coach Ed Kelly heading into the match.
“My biggest concern was Saturday, coming off a TV game at Wake Forest,” he said. “The energy was sky high, and we played really well. Charlie’s sick tonight, Bekks was sick on Saturday, and I’ve been sick, so it’s just kind of been going around.”
The first half saw a tough defensive match between the two squads. The majority of play was held to the midfield, as both teams battled for possession.
At the 15:17 mark, midfielder Jason Abbott got the first shot off on net with a strike from the midfield, but Big Green goalkeeper Noah Cohen made the save to preserve the shutout. Another opportunity came when Bekker made a high pass down the pitch to fellow senior forward Charlie Rugg. Rugg, though closely guarded by his defender, put himself in position to take a chance on net. Nonetheless, the ball from Bekker sailed too far ahead of the streaking Rugg, and went out of play.
Maybe the best chance for the Eagles to start scoring came with just under a minute left in the half. With traffic around the goal, Bekker found a small opening after taking the ball past his defender. He launched a shot from up close, but Cohen blocked the ball to keep the game tied going into half.
At the end of the half, it was essentially a stalemate between the Eagles and the Big Green. Each team had six shots, although BC had two shots on goal to Dartmouth’s one. Otherwise, the game saw very little offensive opportunity, based on strong defensive play both in the box as well as at midfield.
The second half saw an increased offensive pressure compared to the first, although neither team was able to put anything away to take the lead. The Eagles had several opportunities to take the match, but a solid Big Green defensive effort and some misplays downfield kept the team scoreless. On the other side of the pitch, the strong defensive unit of Chris Ager, Ryan Dunn, Nick Corliss, Stefan Carter, and Dylan Pritchard limited their opponents to four shots in the half, although two were on goal.
The Eagles continued to create shots for themselves throughout the period, but no greater chance came than when Rugg crossed a pass to Abbott in front of the net. Abbott took a hard shot, but the Big Green goalkeeper blocked it to end the threat. Time expired with nothing on the scoreboard, sending the teams to overtime.
Kelly said that his fear of the team losing focus in the game after the Wake Forest match felt like it was becoming a reality.
“We come in. There’s no atmosphere in the place whatsoever,” he said. “You know there’s going to be a drop-off, no matter what you say to them. It looked like a game of keep-away. We had a couple of chances, like Bekks had a look at the goal, Charles had another one up there, but it was still a boring kind of game. They had a couple of breaks when they could’ve scored, so I was really nervous about the game in general.”
After two scoreless periods, the Eagles finally came through with the header from Bekker. As Abbott booted a free kick into the crowd in front of the net, Bekker managed to break through and redirect the ball into the net, sealing the Eagles’ victory.
“Jason just played a great ball, and I was just the first guy across the goal,” Bekker said. “I just tried to get my head on it, and keep it going towards goal.”
“Bekks just grew three inches over there,” Kelly laughed. “He put his high heels on for that one.”
In the long term, Bekker believes that this victory is the culmination of his young teammates coming together and understanding the work necessary to be a successful team.
“The boys are coming together, and we’re starting to work for our wins,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy, and that’s the way it’s going to be for the rest of the season. Everyone’s just got to give 100 percent every game.”