Fall, Men's Soccer

Men’s Soccer’s Road Woes Continue at No. 20 UConn

With less than 15 minutes remaining in regulation on Tuesday night, Boston College men’s soccer was staring at a three-goal deficit in Storrs, Conn. Attempting to force an extra frame—what would have been the third-straight overtime meeting between BC and Connecticut—Kristofer Konradsson became the first Eagle not named Simon Enstrom to record a brace this season, logging a pair of goals in the span of 12 minutes. Ultimately, though, the last-ditch effort proved fruitless, and UConn held on for the 3-2 victory.

BC (4-5-3, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) has struggled this season on the road, with a record of 1-4-1 when playing on its opponents’ turf. The No. 20 Huskies (8-2-2, 2-0-2 American Athletic) capitalized and sent BC back to Newton with its second-consecutive loss. After tying No. 19 Central Florida four days earlier, UConn kicked off Tuesday night’s match against the Eagles, harboring some frustration.

The Eagles seemed to be on their heels from the opening whistle and, as the first half progressed, UConn offensive attacks appeared never-ending. Huskies forward Abdou Mbacke Thiam created the match’s first chance, sending a dangerous ball into the Eagles’ 6-yard box. BC sophomore goalkeeper Antonio Chavez Borrelli, however, snatched the lofting cross and pulled it away from oncoming attackers.

Chavez Borrelli stopped yet another UConn shot from distance around the 25th minute, but signaled to the Eagles’ defense that shots on goal were being conceded too easily. During the 28th minute, BC mustered its own offense attack, with redshirt junior Trevor Davock firing two shots on net, forcing saves from veteran UConn goalkeeper Austin Aviza.

Just as the Eagles began to mount pressure, UConn discovered a lapse in the BC defense off a stoppage in play, and New Jersey native Josh Burnett assisted Thiam for a 28th-minute goal to give UConn an early lead. In the 31st minute, BC successfully cycled the ball through the midfield and fed Davock, who was taken down in the box and earned a penalty kick for the Eagles. Unfortunately for BC, veteran Swedish striker Simon Enstrom failed to connect on the attempt, as Aviza deflected the shot into the post. Before the first half came to a close, the dangerous UConn duo of Burnett and Thiam struck again, this time, Thiam feeding Burnett for a 42nd-minute goal after UConn midfielders like Cole Venner kept the ball on BC’s defensive half.  

As the second-half whistle blew, UConn appeared to have maintained the momentum, as only five minutes passed before Huskies midfielder Blaise N’Gague connected with Burnett to penetrate the BC defensive line. Burnett faked a shot and slotted the ball past Chavez Borelli to increase UConn’s lead to 3-0.

But right around the 60th minute, BC began playing with an increased level of urgency. Freshman Ivan Postolka received a cross at the 65th minute with the Eagles’ best chance of the second half, but his shot sailed just wide.

Still trailing by three, Konradsson stepped up for the Eagles and scored a 78th minute goal from distance, providing a sliver of hope for BC fans. As the 80th minute passed, the Eagles’ offense continually produced offensive chances. Eventually, Konradsson weaved through UConn defenders at the top of the 18 and launched a shot past Aviza to cut  BC’s deficit to one with five minutes left to play.

But a frantic final four minutes of scoreless play put an end to the Eagles’ comeback effort, and BC slid to 1-4-1 on the road.

As the Eagles return to Chestnut Hill with No. 5 North Carolina on tap, BC looks to win its final game at home before ending the season with a two-game road trip. For now, the Eagles must harness the momentum that they built in the final minutes of Tuesday night’s affair and enter the home stretch offensively minded if they’re to have any chance of finishing the year above .500.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Staff

October 16, 2018