By Charlie DeMatteo
Boston University Women’s Soccer (10-8, 6-3 PL) had the Patriot League regular season title taken away from them by Army West Point (8-4-6, 6-1-2 PL) on Wednesday night. The Black Knights scored with 42 seconds remaining to win 3-2, taking the top seed away from BU heading into the Patriot League Tournament.
Coming into the game, the Terriers needed a win to secure the top spot for the tournament. However, because of Lehigh and Bucknell’s draw, all BU needed was a tie of their own to lock down the first seed.
The Terriers found themselves down on two separate occasions, but came back to make it 1-1 and 2-2, respectively, but there would be no third equalizer as the Black Knights scored on a last-second counterattack in the 90th minute to seal the crucial 3-2 victory.
“It’s a tough pill to swallow, I know it’s a game with a lot of implications,” BU Head Coach Casey Brown said. “I felt really proud of the girls in terms of how hard we fought to constantly be back in.”
Things got off to a poor start for the Terriers as inside a minute, leading goal-scorer Morgan Fagan took a ball to the face and had to be substituted, although Fagan would return later in the first half.
The Black Knights struck first as BU defender Jenna Oldham handled a ball inside the box, giving a penalty to Army in the 12th minute. Black Knight captain Lauren Drysdale stepped up and dispatched the penalty kick into the bottom left corner of BU goalkeeper Celia Braun’s net to give Army an early 1-0 advantage.
“It’s tough getting a handball call like that against this team early,” Brown said. “I thought our girls responded to it pretty well.”
The Terriers’ positive response paid off in the 36th minute when midfielder Julianna Stureman struck an incredible volley on her left foot from well outside the box to even the score at one.
“I think to go into the locker room at 1-1 was huge, it was a huge momentum shift for sure,” Brown said. “We felt like we had more to do, but being at 1-1 was massive.”
10 minutes into the second half, Army restored their one-goal advantage with a goal in the 55th minute from Brigid Duffy after BU failed to clear their lines. Duffy tucked the ball away into the corner after a pass from Kaelan Bradley.
“I think it was a little bit against the run of play for their second goal,” Brown said. “It’s tough when you feel like you’re getting a good rhythm.”
BU responded once more when Sophia Woodland latched onto a corner kick delivered by Oldham in the 81st minute to tie the score 2-2.
“I think the resiliency we showed to keep our foot on the gas pedal and keep trusting our process was really positive,” Brown said. “Again, we were able to find a way to get back in the game.”
As the clock ticked under one minute, the Black Knights found themselves in open space on the counterattack. Bradley rounded goalkeeper Gretchen Bennett to give the Black Knights their third goal of the night and to secure the Patriot League regular season title.
“To put two in against a very good Army side, obviously we wish we closed it out,” Brown said. “But there are great things to be able to take from [the game] and now we just have to refocus all of our energy on winning a Patriot League Championship.”
The Terriers enter the Patriot League Tournament as the No. 3 seed and will host the No. 6-seeded Greyhounds of Loyola Maryland on Sunday at 2 p.m.