Women’s Soccer: Terriers drop Patriot League opener to Loyola Maryland

By Sam Robb O’Hagan

Boston University women’s soccer (3-4-2) (0-1 PL) dominated possession and controlled the game, but couldn’t score in a frustrating 1-0 loss to Loyola Maryland (6-2) (1-0 PL) in the Patriot League opener at Nickerson Field.

The Terriers did everything right, but they didn’t score.

Now, the question for BU Head Coach Casey Brown: where can her Terriers find goals?

“[Over] the totality of the game, I thought we were probably better,” Brown said. “We need to do a little bit more with our possession today in terms of shot generation.”

“But obviously, the performance was very strong.”

The Terriers dominated possession, particularly in the second half, but finished with only nine shots. Loyola Maryland, starved of the ball for a majority of the game, finished with 11.

None of the Greyhounds’ shots asked demanding questions of junior goalkeeper Celia Braun. Even the Greyhounds’ winner, scored 14 minutes into the game by senior forward Chloe Kuminoski, was hardly the strike most could’ve envisioned would decide the game. An errant cross found Braun’s exposed near-post, whose sudden effort helped the ball into the side-netting. 

It was about the only blip on the radar Brown could point out after the game.

“We had a tough little spell when they scored because it felt deflating—it felt against the run of play,” Brown said. “We struggled to respond to that.”

Brown’s team limped into the break, with a majority of the ball, but without ideas or cohesion in possession. The Terriers put one shot on goal in the first 45 minutes.

In the final 45, Brown’s team was reinvigorated with the ball. The game was played at their feet and in their attacking third—in the control of a BU team that wanted to play in possession..

“We’re a ‘possession for penetration’ team,” Brown said. “We did a good job of breaking lines. We were dynamic in the final third. We showcased a lot of what we want to be in possession.”

However, the Terriers recorded just two shots on goal.

“We need to be more ruthless in and around goal,” Brown said.

Junior forward Morgan Fagan, who Brown has said plays with “scary speed,” was particularly bright. In tight areas down the right flank, Fagan escaped with the ball. In the open field, she glided past defenders to progress the BU attack forward. But Fagan failed to record a shot throughout the 90 minutes.

“[Fagan’s] crucial,” Brown said. “She’s a threat at all times. She’s a part of creating [goals] because of what she can do in one on one situations. She’s a very dangerous attacking personality.”

At full time, Fagan, the Terriers’ leader in goals and points in 2022, completed her ninth scoreless game of the season. Fagan has only one point in 583 minutes.

After the Terriers’ loss, Brown was asked if her team was adequately prepared for conference play. She was blunt.

“Completely,” Brown said.

“We were certainly in charge of the game, but goals also dictate that, and when you have to chase it, that makes it a real challenge,” Brown said.

Brown’s team learned a tough lesson. The Terriers fell victim to the need for ruthlessness in front of goal and the tight margins defending their own which define conference play.

“The margins are fine in the Patriot League, and unfortunately, their goal was very against the grain, but that can happen,” Brown said. “[We’ve] got to find ways to come up with points.”

But finding points in the Patriot League is only getting harder.

“Oh my gosh, the Patriot League is a very strong conference,” Brown said.

The Terriers need goals, and they need points. To find it, they’ll have to keep up with competition that keeps getting better.

BU’s next opportunity to find goals, and ground in the Patriot League, is on Wednesday, when the Terriers host Colgate at 6 p.m.