Men's Soccer, Fall, Sports

Suski’s Penalty Shot Lifts Eagles Over Holy Cross

As the last bits of sunlight peeked over the horizon, Boston College men’s soccer found itself minutes away from victory two different times in its evening matchup with in-state rival Holy Cross. In just the final 12 minutes of regulation, four goals, two per side, found the back of the net. BC racked up a lead twice, but Holy Cross squandered them each time. BC’s leading scorer Stefan Sigurdarson did all he could to end the game in 90 minutes with two tallies, but the match was destined for extra time.

Just over four minutes into the extra period, Sigurdarson had yet another scoring chance in the 18-yard box. This time, however, Holy Cross goalie Jimmy Joyce tripped him off before he could get a shot off, and the referee immediately pointed to the penalty spot. 

Michael Suski stepped up to the spot, poised to finally put the game to rest. He ran up, hesitated, and slotted the ball into the back of the net for the golden goal. In a thriller, the Eagles (3–1–1, 0–0–1 Atlantic Coast) took down Holy Cross (3–1–2) by the score of 3–2.

“If you’re going to have a good year, you’re going to have to be able to win in different ways,” BC head coach Bob Thompson said. “And this was a game where they came back twice, and you had to keep trying to push to get another goal.” 

There may not have been any scoring in the first half of the game, but there was plenty of action. Just minutes into the game, Sigurdarson got his head on the end of a cross to the back post, but his attempt went just wide. Freshman Aidan Farwell received the ball in the 18-yard box but fired his shot right at Joyce, who made the save. Sigurdarson had another opportunity to give BC a lead on another cross, but this time, Joyce denied his header.

The Eagles were consistent in forcing turnovers that kept the ball in the Holy Cross half, severely out-possessing their opponent. It seemed that every time that the Crusaders had a chance to clear out, a BC player was there to win the ball back. This constant pressure is the reason for the Eagles’ nine shots in the opening frame.

Holy Cross led a few counterattacks and had a few corner kick opportunities, but goaltender Christian Garner and the stout defense stood tall. Garner had a quiet half, only needing to make one easy save that came over 30 minutes into the match.

The first 33 minutes of the second half were very much like the first. In control, the Eagles created several chances but could not break through, partly thanks to the right post stopping a shot from Sigurdarson.

The ice-breaking goal finally came for Sigurdarson with 11:48 remaining in regulation.  Following a BC free-kick, a loose ball found the star striker, and he placed a looping header into the back of the net to put the Eagles up 1–0. After not being able to connect on his previous two headers, it was long overdue.

Just a minute later, a long through-ball put Evan Jones on a breakaway for Holy Cross. After maneuvering his way around Garner, Jones laced the ball into the back of the net for the equalizer, quieting the Newton crowd.

And just another minute later, Farwell’s cutback pass from the left wing found Sigurdarson, who stuffed it home to put BC up 2–1.

Just when it seemed as though the Eagles had ended it, the Crusaders struck yet again. Max Krause’s left-footed shot curled toward the back post, past Garner, and into the net. 

“After the double-overtime game against Notre Dame, there’s a little bit of tired legs in the back defending wise that we got to sort out,” Thompson said. 

Featured Image by Steve Mooney / Heights Staff

September 14, 2021