MEN'S SOCCER: Lack Of Experience Haunts BC In Loss To Wake
Published: Sunday, September 8, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 00:09
Maroon shirts streaked around the pitch, with a white ball zipping back and forth between them as they looked to penetrate a stubborn Wake Forest defense.
Cole DeNormandie’s hold-up play was excellent. The three attackers behind him were involved in the match, and the Eagles were a threat headed forward. But DeNormandie’s target man status led to an injury after just moments of play.
Coming off a brace against Quinnipiac, the Lincoln, Mass. native’s head injury, which appeared quite severe, changed the way Boston College would matchup.
Derrick Boateng entered the game via a straight swap for DeNormandie, who would not see action for the rest of the night. With Boateng on for the ailing forward, the sophomore’s workload would see BC increasingly play with the ball on the turf. Ed Kelly’s team would go without length to lead the line.
According to Kelly it wasn’t an issue, because Boateng runs all over the field.
And run he did.
No. 10 made diagonal bursts down the right and left side, as teammates looked to find Boateng with through balls both on the ground and over the top. He had the opportunity to score twice on the night.
He also played well with the other attackers, holding the ball up with his back to goal before connecting them with the team’s forward moves.
Wake Forest’s play out of the back was based around the long ball. Their central midfielders, especially Jared Watts, sprayed the ball across the pitch. If sitting deep on the right, Watts would nail the ball across the field to Luca Gimenez, who was the match’s most influential player.
This was due to the high press the Eagles instituted, as they looked to keep the Demon Deacons in their own half. Throwing speedy bodies at Wake’s defenders forced them into multiple errors, including one that nearly led to a Boateng strike. But the threat of the Wake midfielder was too much for the Eagles to handle.
Gimenez had a brilliant game on his left flank, torching BC right back Matt Wendelken on multiple occasions. His wing play created the Deacon opener at 28 minutes. The strike by Andy Lubahn came as a result of Gimenez’s blast into the box’s left hand side. The Brazilian drove the ball across to find the foot of his striker at the end of his trailing run.
Despite his difficulties, Wendelken adapted in the second half. The junior defender made better decisions as to whether or not to stay loose on his man or get tighter on him. Wendelken’s play became containment based as well, though it allowed the Wake Forest man to slot the ball to his fellow attackers in and around the 18-yardbox.
Keeping Wake Forest to the wings was BC’s Nick Butler. The 6-foot-4 midfielder is a force to be reckoned with in the center.
With Butler in the game, the team’s shape shifted. After using one defensive midfielder, Kelly felt tonight was the opportunity to make the switch to a pairing between the transfer and Giuliano Frano.
“We played with the one holding, but it’s too much work,” Kelly said, “It’s easier with two guys to settle it in and the way they knock the ball around, we thought it was a good time to change, and they did well.”
Frano and Butler worked all over the middle, chasing Wake’s midfielders down to recover the ball for BC, as the Eagles did well to fit into a 4-2-3-1.
Atobra Ampadu played in the hole behind Boateng. Ampadu had difficulty creating chances against a stingy Wake defense that had him pegged all over the field. This left Isaac Normesinu to spur the host’s attack, though he struggled to find his link in the middle.
“I think Isaac didn’t do enough dribbling,” Kelly said. “He didn’t take enough people on. Toby’s screaming for every ball, when he’s not really open and Isaac is passing it to him. Isaac is fantastic. He was taking them on in the first half.”
After picking up two yellow cards in a four-minute span, Boateng was sent off. It was a dangerous decision from the creative player, as his team was already bereft of an out-and-out striker.
Boateng’s slow walk to the bench signaled that there was no way back for the Eagles. Zeiko Lewis, a freshman who had spent the majority of the night playing down the right flank, was pushed into Boateng’s position, as the Eagles shifted into a jumbled 4-1-3-1.
Had DeNormandie been in the game, BC would have been able to spot its giant. Having a 5-foot-6 freshman up front, with the team in need of two last-gasp goals, called for a different strategy that lacked the ability to get a quick strike. Without DeNormandie, and while Boateng serves his suspension, Ed Kelly and the Eagles will be tactically stretched, as they look to piece together results in their upcoming matches.