Men’s Soccer: Late Matulis strike carries Terriers over Navy in Patriot League opener

By Cameron Meyer

The Boston University men’s soccer team (1-4-1, 1-0-0 PL) got the best of Navy (5-1-1, 0-1-0 PL) on Saturday at Nickerson Field to begin their Patriot League campaign. A late, long-range strike by junior midfielder Quinn Matulis was the decisive goal for the Terriers, who went on to win 1-0. 

Like in many of BU’s games this season, a single goal determined the result. This match, however, marked the first time a one-goal difference went in favor of the home side. Even after battling to a goal advantage in the first half away to Boston College and taking St. John’s University to overtime, the Terriers came into this matchup without a single win, their record standing 0-4-1. 

“Obviously we came into this game knowing that we didn’t have a win yet, but when you look closer, they’re all super close games,” Matulis said following the game. “We had really good moments, so we knew it was only a matter of time.”

The Midshipmen contrarily held an 5-0-1 record going into their Patriot League opener, being one of only 17 teams left undefeated in the NCAA. Sophomore forward Sydney Paris and senior forward Jacob Williams had been particularly proficient in their winning campaign, with Williams ranking third in the nation in shots per game.

For the better part of the first half, the Midshipmen’s attacking efficiency continued, enjoying majority possession and threatening the Terrier backline. Paris and senior forward Baba Kallie led the attacking effort for the away side, but were unable to find the back of the net.

“We found ourselves kind of starting slowly in recent games and building into it, so that’s a conversation that we’ve been having, in terms of starting better,” BU head coach Kevin Nylen said. “I think that’s been a gradual process for us.”

Eventually, the Terriers grew into the game in the first half and found periods of sustained possession in what became largely a defensive affair. Their dominance maintained through the break and reached a crescendo at the 56th minute when Matulis fired a shot off the crossbar. 

However, mother nature had better ideas than to allow the Terriers within striking distance as a weather delay lasted almost two hours. With rain pouring down, both sides retook the field at the 65th minute. Despite the Midshipmen having a 10-3 shot advantage in the second half, it would be the Terriers who punched in the definitive blow.

With four minutes to go, freshman midfielder Kevin Torres pounced on a loose pass and launched a counter-attack that found itself on the right foot of Matulis. 25 yards out from goal, the midfielder struck the ball towards goal, and after a kiss off the left post, the Terriers found themselves ahead. 

“I had a similar chance in the first part [of the second half] before the delay,” Matulis said. “So when I got the same chance, I knew I was going to put it in. That’s something you got to do.” 

In the remaining four minutes, the Terriers held their lead and secured the win, advancing to 1-5-1 on the season and beginning their campaign for the Patriot League championship with a win. 

“For the guys it’s a great feeling, three points against a team who’s always at the top of the league,” Nylen said. “It’s just Week One, but it’s a really good starting point for us.”

The Terriers will continue their conference play Sept. 25 away to Lafayette College at 12 p.m.

Featured Image: Quinn Matulis dribbles past a Navy defender during a game at Nickerson Field on Saturday, Sept. 18. Photo by Perry Sosi.