As Quinnipiac men’s soccer’s Brage Aasen fired the Bobcats’ third score across the goal line in the 57th minute and his teammates surrounded him in celebration, Boston College defenders stopped to catch their breath in silence. Just 20 minutes prior with the Eagles down by two goals, BC’s Jonathan Murphy lifted his second goal of the season into the back of the Bobcats’ net, initiating a comeback effort.
But Aasen’s tally quickly depleted the come-from-behind momentum that Murphy sparked, and the time to mount a comeback quickly ticked away as the Eagles faced their first loss of the season.
“We gave them too many opportunities, and then when they scored the third [goal] it was tough,” BC head coach Bob Thompson said.
The Eagles have historically dominated Quinnipiac in the two teams’ previous matchups with a 13–2–2 all-time advantage over the Bobcats. But the tide has recently changed, as Quinnipiac has now won two of the teams’ last three contests, including Monday’s meeting in Hamden, Conn. The Eagles (1–1) tallied their first loss of the season as Quinnipiac (1–0–1) cruised to a 3–1 victory.
“They’re a really good team, and they’re gonna do really well,” Thompson said of Quinnipiac. “So an away game loss to a really good team is not something to be too down about. I think if we can move forward and get a good result in the next two games, I think we’ll be in a good spot.”
Quinnipiac struck first and struck fast, taking a one-goal lead just under 14 minutes into play. The Bobcats went the distance of the pitch with a flurry of quick passes. A back heel pass to Terrance Wilder Jr. allowed the center back to pipe a rocket toward the net, but the ball ricocheted off the hands of BC’s goalkeeper, Leon Musial. After Musial’s initial save, Dario Cavada swooped in and finished the effort with a smooth shot into the back of the net to give the Bobcats a 1–0 lead.
“I just think that we were arriving too late on some of the press,” Thompson said. “We’re trying to build a culture where even the away games we put the other team under pressure. So we were trying to work towards that. We just were a little bit late as a group on the press.”
The goal marked Quinnipiac’s first of the season after it finished in a scoreless tie with Rhode Island in its season opener on Aug. 24.
Just under 15 minutes later, the Eagles established their first high-caliber scoring opportunity of the game. BC’s Alfie Hughes took a shot but Wilder got a piece of the ball to avoid a 1–1 tie. The Eagles failed to convert on the subsequent corner kick and the Bobcats regained possession. And while the Eagles missed their scoring opportunity, Quinnipiac, on the other hand, capitalized on its redirection.
Midway through the 34th minute, the Bobcats started a push toward BC’s penalty area. Francisco Ferreira stepped up and—with little contention from the Eagles’ defense— cracked the back of the net to hand Quinnipiac a second goal.
The two-goal deficit did not last for long, however, as BC responded with a goal just over four minutes later. Xavier O’Neil placed a pass just in front of Quinnipiac’s penalty spot where Murphy launched the ball past Karl Netzell to make it 2–1.
“I think the first half, we caught a glimpse of the character of the group, being down two nothing,” Thompson said. “I think the guys stayed confident and worked super hard to come back and make it two to one, and then they controlled the game for a little bit after that. And I think that we just didn’t capitalize on being able to tie it.”
BC entered the second half with momentum from Murphy’s check, but was unable to maintain it as play resumed.
“At halftime we talked about the fact that they did come back, and that was a good sign, and that we—I think the group—at halftime felt really positive that we could come back and get a tie or a win out of it,” Murphy said. “And then in the second half, we just didn’t keep the consistency of the attack.”
The first and only goal in the second half belonged to Quinnipiac and reinstated the Bobcats’ two-goal lead. In the 57th minute, Tomas Svecula passed the ball to Aasen who skipped the ball into the net to give Quinnipiac a 3–1 advantage.
“To be honest, like with the defending, the second half we just did not fix what we had talked about at halftime,” Thompson said.
BC couldn’t penetrate the Bobcats’ defense and recorded zero shots on goal in the final 45 minutes of the game.
“I think the message for us was like, ‘this is a game you got to have a short memory because the games come fast,’” Thompson said.