MEN'S SOCCER: BC Mounts Comeback Against Harvard
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 00:10
Around the world, people watch sports to see something they do not expect. They want to be shocked, surprised, and startled.
Coming off consecutive losses at the Newton Campus Field, Boston College men’s soccer was in desperate need of a win. Few people witnessed the bizarre sequence of events that ensued in an insignificant match that would have, at the start of the season, been seen as a break from rigorous ACC play.
Two eerily similar throw-ins within a minute and 20 seconds of each other would put non-conference underdog Harvard up 2-0 against BC. It was an upset in the making. But Brendan Hayes would not let that happen, and helped his team recover to beat its local rivals 3-2.
Hayes came into Tuesday night without a start under his collegiate belt, and had it not been for multiple injuries and a moment in practice, he would not have been given the chance to help his ailing side.
“I always knew that [Hayes] was a very good soccer player, but we always looked at him as being non-athletic, so to speak,” said BC head coach Ed Kelly, “But for some reason, the other day in practice, [Kawuba] got the ball—he’s very athletic—and ran down, and [Hayes] actually caught him.
“So we’re talking, ‘Did you have any idea [Hayes] was fast?’ I was going, ‘No, no, no,’ And we said, ‘we’re gonna give him a shot then and put him at right midfield.’”
Hayes took his shot—in fact, he took three. He put two of those on target, and both efforts beat the keeper.
“I haven’t scored in a long time, so two goals is just big,” Hayes said.
“The guys really worked hard to set up the opportunities, and I was just in the right place at the right time,” he said.
The junior started at right midfield for the Eagles, who were without Nick Corliss, Amit Shumowitz, Isaac Normesinu, and Ryan Dunn.
Kelly set his team up in a 4-4-1-1. Derrick Boateng and Giuliano Frano controlled the center of midfield. Diego Medina-Mendez and Hayes took the wings, while Cole DeNormandie started in his place as the target man, with Zeiko Lewis behind him.
Harvard’s main form of attack came through set pieces. Stemming from the left flank, several corners and throw-ins were launched into the box, giving the Eagles trouble inside the area.
But after a quarter of an hour, BC began to control the game. The Eagles played the ball out from the back and created an excellent move forward 20 minutes in. A seven-pass combination that started with Boateng and Lewis ended with Hayes and DeNormandie, though the latter’s cross was stopped by Harvard keeper Brett Conrad.
Medina-Mendez and Lewis had symmetrical opportunities on both sides of 29 minutes. The junior cut in from the right side, dribbling five defenders before putting a weak effort on target. Lewis did the same, but from the left flank.
With 32 minutes gone, Harvard’s Michael Klain had a throw-in from the right side. His long-range toss found the head of Kevin Harrington. Challenged by the BC defense, the ball popped out to David Barna, whose cracker of a volley from the penalty spot gave the visitors a one-goal advantage.
The same occurred 34 minutes in, as a Klain throw was nodded on by Harrington and finished by substitute Tyler Evans.
“All they had was the long throw-in,” Kelly said. “We could’ve done better on the second goal.”
Lewis had the opportunity to cut the Crimson’s lead in two before halftime, but his effort from outside of the area fizzed over the crossbar.
Going into the half, the Eagles lacked communication. They collided with each other several times on 50-50 balls, after starting the game at a frantic pace.
Chris Ager went down near the end of the first half and required a substitute, but the center back was on the pitch for the entirety of the second period of play.
Kelly pushed Hayes into the hole behind Lewis, who was, “all over the place, just doing what the team needs,” Hayes said.
It was the positioning of the Northport, New York native that gave him the chance to score his first of the evening.
Boateng had the ball deep on the left flank and cut toward goal, before drilling the ball to Hayes, who slotted it into the net’s bottom right corner, giving Conrad no chance.
After the goal, Atobra Ampadu was introduced, pushing the goal scorer to left back. Hayes was exhausted though, and replaced by Dylan Pritchard, who had started the match at right back.
Hayes was summoned by Kelly again 68 minutes in, and would strike a mere three minutes later. Frano earned a controversial throw-in just inside his team’s half. He found Ampadu who took a brilliant touch, before slotting a well-weighted through-ball to Lewis whose diagonal run made the goal possible. The talented forward poked the ball past the keeper and stopped it on the bi-line. Lewis then threaded the ball across the face of the goal to Hayes, who drilled the ball into the back of the net to level the match at two goals apiece.