Sports, Fall, Men's Soccer

Williams Notches First Goal of Season in 1–1 Draw with Cavaliers

With just 25 minutes remaining in Boston College men’s soccer’s match against Virginia on Friday, Augustine Boadi had the perfect opportunity to net one for the Eagles. His shot drilled into Virginia’s goal post, however. 

It seemed like another wasted chance by BC and a moment that might sting for the remainder of the season. But Xavier O’Neil squashed that idea by making a quick-reaction play off the rebound, passing the ball to CJ Williams who proceeded to score an electric goal to give the Eagles a 1–0 lead in the 64th minute. The tally marked Williams’ first goal of the season.  

“I like the intensity in that moment,” BC head coach Bob Thompson said. “Sometimes with the balls bouncing around, you can kind of switch off, but everybody stayed focused until the end and we made a good play. CJ stayed really alert and when he got his opportunity it was a really good finish.” 

The Eagles (3–4–4, 0–3–2 Atlantic Coast) and Cavaliers (6–3–3, 2–2–1) both displayed tremendous grit from the beginning, going back and forth in the first half, and made it seem like a single goal by either team could be enough to secure the win. The 1–1 draw served as a microcosm of the BC season to date, as the Eagles have displayed strong defensive play but have failed to capitalize off their offensive opportunities. 

“I think for a majority of the game, we had a really good hold of the ball.” Thompson recalled. “I think we kept the ball way better than they did. I think we kept really good possession so that inherently kind of keeps them off the scoreboard.”

10 minutes into the match, Ted Cargill perfectly placed a free kick, but freshman starter Simba Odhiambo mistimed his jump and could not take the advantage. Odhiambo got his first start of the season on Friday along with many of the freshmen and sophomores on the roster who have displayed very promising potential. 

Marco Dos Santos was at the forefront of the Eagles’ offensive early on. He displayed very impressive footwork around mid-field as he set up his teammates. Dos Santos received a yellow card at the 40-minute mark, which limited the physicality of his play for the remainder of the game, though. 

Led by goalkeeper Brennan Klein, who made three saves in the contest, the Eagles’ defensive perseverance was evident from the very start. 

“I think we kept them defending for maybe longer than they’re used to,” Thompson said. “Our guys, for the most part, did a pretty good job with that.”

Freshman star Stephen Annor Gyamfi began the second half on the bench after drawing a yellow card in the 26th minute. It seemed like Virginia head coach George Gelnovatch wanted to save his star for later in the game to avoid a second yellow. But subbing him almost immediately after Williams’ goal appeared like Gelnovatch waited too long to substitute Gyamfi into the affair.  

Virginia’s leading goal scorer changed that narrative in the 75th minute, when Paul Wiese perfectly cleared a ball across the middle of the pitch and Gyamfi headed in an equalizer just out of Klein’s reach into the upper left of BC’s goal. Gyamfi tied the contest with his seventh goal of the season. 

A conference win had huge standings implications for both teams, so with just 15 minutes left in the match, both the Eagles and the Cavaliers fought tooth and nail. The Gyamfi tally seemed to electrify the Virginia’s side who quickly took possession and looked to set up a score yet again. The Eagles, who just 10 minutes prior were set up to come away with the victory, were now praying for a tie. 

“I think normally we would have wanted to go for the win,” Thompson said. “I think we had a little bit of physical fatigue that seemed to really show.”

Reese Miller drilled a hard shot on the left side of the goal, but Klein made a full extension dive to save the game. BC’s defense proceeded to rally about him, shutting down a barrage of Virginia attempts subsequent to Miller’s shot. 

After escaping that attack unharmed, Klein’s defensive excellence appeared to rejuvenate BC’s offense, as possession shifted in the Eagles’ favor with under three minutes remaining. In the final minute of the game, both sides received a yellow card but neither registered another goal in the 1–1 tie. 

October 8, 2023