On Tuesday afternoon, Boston College men’s soccer’s recent struggles continued as the Eagles dropped their third game in a row. The loss wasn’t even in conference play.
“Yeah, I think that was our weakest performance of the year.” BC head coach Bob Thompson said.
In the 82nd minute, Colin Milliken lined up to take Stonehill’s seventh corner kick of the contest. Unlike the other six, though, this one trickled into the back of the net to put the Skyhawks ahead 2–1. Milliken sailed the ball into a cluster of players fighting for position, where it ricocheted around and eventually found the head of Ekrem Hadzic for the game-winning goal.
The game marked the first matchup between the Eagles (3–7–4, 0–4–2 Atlantic Coast) and Stonehill (4–6–4, 1–2–2 Northeast) since 1986, when BC defeated the Skyhawks 4–2. Stonehill rewrote history on Tuesday with a dramatic win in a down-to-the-wire battle between both programs. BC’s all-time record now stands at four wins and one loss against Stonehill.
In the late stages of the first half and for the majority of the second, the Eagles experienced offensive troubles. Those struggles mostly emanated from being without their leading scorer, Jonathan Murphy, who was limited by an injury.
“So yeah, certainly when you take a goal scorer out it affects it for sure,” Thompson said.
Despite Murphy’s absence, Thompson’s squad generated a ton of offense early in the game, spending ample time in the offensive zone. In the seventh minute, freshman Xavier O’Neil glided up the right side of the field and centered one perfectly for teammate Alfie Hughes, but Stonehill’s Jaxson Kahawai interfered and deflected the ball out of play.
The early pressure rewarded the Eagles as sophomore Augustine Boadi netted the first goal of the game just before the eighth minute. Marco Dos Santos, a first-year midfielder, darted down the right corner of the pitch, finding O’Neil near the end line. O’Neil then played an excellent pass to Boadi, who rifled one past the goalkeeper’s outstretched arms for his third goal of the season.
“Some of our through passes in the final third and service was a little bit better.” Thompson said.
Subsequently, Stonehill upped its intensity, managing eight shots on goal in the first half as opposed to BC’s five. Stonehill eventually knotted the game up at one apiece thanks to a goal from senior Jacob Woznicki in the 31st minute. Defenseman Benjamin Mazza-Bergeron sent a shot from well outside the 18-yard box, which met Woznicki’s head, deflected off the right post, and into the goal to give him his eighth goal of the year.
This was just the sixth goal the Eagles have allowed in ten home games. BC’s junior goalie, Brennan Klein, has racked up a stellar season thus far, mounting his name to the top of the ACC despite the Eagles’ woes as a team overall.
“He’s been one of our shining spots, one of our bright spots for the year.” Thompson said.
The beginning of the second half displayed great defensive prowess with neither team willing to yield an inch of ground. In the 75th minute, Klein made a superb save when Stonehill’s Martin Johnsen pieced together a tremendous move to shake a defender, firing a shot from just outside the six-yard box that deflected off the hands of Klein as he dove right.
After Milliken scored the game-winner, BC got just inches away from tying the game. In the 86th minute, Boadi sought to score his second goal of the game when he struck a shot from inside the 18-yard box. The missile deflected off the goalie’s leg and rebounded to Dos Santos, who scored, but officials waived off the game-saving tally because Dos Santos was offside.
The dramatic play deflated the Eagles’ energy, and they couldn’t muster a comeback in the final minutes of the match, losing 2–1 to the Skyhawks.
After the loss, Thompson reassured Eagles’ fans that the future is still bright.
“I think the main message is just to remind everyone that we’re very young, and that there’s still a ton of potential with the group,” Thompson said. “The culture and the character of the group is really strong. So I think with the young talent on the team, the future is bright.”