Sports, Fall, Men's Soccer

BC Suffers First Shutout Loss of Season to Wolfpack in ACC Opener

In the top corner of the box, North Carolina State men’s soccer’s Gabi Velez turned on the jets and paced the ball ahead of him. Velez trapped the ball with his left foot just inches before it drifted out of bounds, made a quick cut to the inside, and chipped the ball to Junior Nare in the high slot. 

Just after Nare’s right cleat made impact with the ball, Boston College goalkeeper Brennan Klein dove with his hands stretched toward the heavens. Nare fired a blistering shot to the far post, which had no shot of being stopped as it rose linearly into the top-right corner of the goal. Just over 23 minutes into the game, BC looked despondent. The only thing Klein, defender Diego Ochoa, and midfielder Xavier O’Niel could do was stare at Nare in celebration and put their hands on their hips in disbelief.  

Nare’s rocket lit a fire in the Wolfpack (3–2, 1–0 Atlantic Coast) student section, who waved flags, banged drums, and danced amid a smoke machine behind the net. The fan environment at Dail Soccer Field overcame the Eagles right from the beginning. After falling behind 1–0 early in the contest, BC (2–2–1, 0–1) never recovered, surrendering another goal in the 89th minute en route to a 2–0 loss in its first ACC matchup of the year.

In the first half, a 10–2 shot margin in favor of NC State rippled through the Eagles’ chemistry and game plan. Despite earning a corner kick just 3:29 into the game and notching a shot, the Wolfpack marched down the field and garnered four shots in a row between the seventh and 20th minutes.

Just three minutes after NC State’s Will Buete roped a ball to the bottom-center position of the net, which Klein halted, Nare recorded his second goal of the season. The velocity of Nare’s tally was evident, as the ball made a beeline straight for the twine between the top shelf and the threading in the back of the net. 

After a slew of yellow cards—two to the Wolfpack and one to BC—the Eagles developed a set-piece opportunity in the third minute of the second half off a corner kick. Ted Cargill received the attempt just a foot away from the corner flag and unleashed a cross into the box, which CJ Williams connected with. Williams’ header dribbled right of the goal. 

Another dangerous opportunity for NC State in the second half occurred with 18:18 left in regulation, when Jonathan Murphy blundered a simple side pass to his defensive partner, handing Yuta Toya a breakaway run. Klein picked up on the mistake and tip-toed to the top of the box, landing on his knees to make the save.

Klein kept NC State off the board for a second time until the very last minute of the contest, but part of the reason for BC’s defensive success was its ability to block shots and break off downfield passes. In the latter half of the game, the Wolfpack only outshot the Eagles 5–2. 

With 30 seconds remaining in the contest, Luke Hille captured the ball in the attacking half and took it all the way into BC’s box on his own. After making Williams miss a tackle with an in-and-out, through-the-legs move, Hille inched closer to the net and stutter-stepped. Hille faked a shot—making Moritz Gundelach drop to the turf—and lifted a bouncer into the goal to put the cherry on top. 

September 10, 2023