By Bailey Scott
Boston University Women’s Soccer (10-7, 6-2 PL) defeated Loyola Maryland (6-6-4, 3-3-2 PL) 3-1 in Baltimore on Saturday afternoon with a dominant, all-around performance.
With the win, and with the game between Army and Bucknell ending in a draw, the Terriers take the top spot in the Patriot League with just one more conference game to go.
“It was a really complete performance,” BU Head Coach Casey Brown said. “It was a great team win but I thought it was a really good performance where we dominated in possession and were able to translate that to goals.”
The game started out even, as both teams had early chances. The Terriers gave up two corner kicks in the first minute of the game, but were able to respond four minutes later, when freshman midfielder Giulianna Gianino hit a shot towards the bottom left corner, which was saved by Loyola senior goalkeeper Paige Sim.
The rest of the half saw the ball moving constantly from one side of the pitch to the other, as both teams looked evenly matched.
With 10 minutes to go in the first half, BU sophomore goalie Celia Braun made a diving catch to save a shot from graduate midfielder Sarah Mirr. The incredible play seemed to inspire the Terriers, as they attacked the Greyhound half with a renewed vigor.
The intensity eventually paid off, as a miscommunication between Sim and some of her defenders allowed senior forward Marli Rajacich to score on an empty net, putting the Terriers up 1-0 to end the half.
The momentum from that goal carried through the half-time break, as the Terriers began to take control of the game in the second half.
Six minutes into the half, BU sophomore forward Morgan Fagan dribbled around three Loyola players and then unleashed a shot into the bottom right corner to extend the Terriers’ lead to 2-0 for her sixth goal of the season. Fagan is now tied for first in the Patriot League scoring chart and is second in the conference in points.
It was a very physical afternoon with 27 fouls recorded between both teams. One of those fouls proved opportunistic for the Terriers, as redshirt senior forward Jenna Oldham scored off of a set piece from just outside the box to make the score 3-0 in the 68th minute.
Loyola finally responded with just over 10 minutes left in the half. Senior forward Ada Clare Tempert scored a shot from outside the box that dropped over BU senior goalie Gretchen Bennett, who had started the second half, to make the score 3-1. Sim and sophomore midfielder Baylee DeSmit assisted on the goal.
The goal jump-started the Greyhound offense, who recorded two more shots in the next five minutes. But it was too little, too late as the Terriers shut them down to finish the game.
The Terriers defense was the star of the game, holding the Greyhounds to just five shots for the entire afternoon.
“The girls were really committed on the defensive side of the game,” Brown said. “We were well organized and made it really difficult for the very good attacking players on the [Loyola] team.”
The Terriers will face Army this Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Nickerson Field for their final regular season home game.