By Charlie DeMatteo
Boston University women’s soccer (7-6-6, 4-3-2 PL) was eliminated from the Patriot League tournament at the semi-final stage by the Bucknell Bison (11-3-4, 5-1-3 PL) after losing 3-1 on Thursday night in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.
After advancing to the semi-finals this past weekend in dramatic fashion with a penalty shootout win, the Terriers were seeking to avoid being knocked out by Bucknell in Lewisburg for back-to-back seasons, but came up short.
“I don’t think it was our best night,” BU Head Coach Casey Brown said postgame. “Overall, on the season though, I’m really proud of this group and the resiliency they showed all year, so we have to build on that.”
The warning signs were there for the Terriers early on. Just four minutes in, Henna Andican tested BU goalkeeper Celia Braun, but her effort, following some nice build-up play, was straight at the Terrier goalie.
Only a minute later, however, the Bison took a 1-0 lead. Bison midfielder Teresa Deda made a bursting run through the midfield and unleashed an unstoppable effort from outside the box on her left foot to blast Bucknell into the lead. A perfectly placed shot into the top right corner left Braun helpless in goal.
“I think conceding five minutes in forced us to chase the game,” Brown said.
In the 13th minute, senior midfielder Abigail McNulty had a sight of goal after cutting on to her weaker right foot, but her shot from outside the box drifted wide of the Bucknell goal.
The Bison continued to dictate the pace of the game and their pressure paid off in the form of a second goal in the 24th minute through Bucknell defender Meghan White.
White made a beautiful run from defense and played a one-two pass with Andican and let a shot go from inside the box to double the Bucknell advantage.
The Terriers struggled to find a way back into the game and found themselves down 2-0 entering the halftime break being outshot 7-2.
“I felt like we could play better,” Brown said. “I didn’t think the first half was our best half and I had some confidence that since we had scored multiple goals all season, we could get back into it.”
Despite a positive start to the second half by BU, the Bison added to their advantage in the 49th minute with a bit of real quality.
The move was started by Andican who delivered a perfect long pass to teammate Hannah Stuck who headed it back to Deda who finished coolly into the bottom right corner, making it 3-0 Bucknell after 49 minutes of play.
“We knew that they had some dangerous attackers,” Brown said. “They’re direct and we tried to keep them in front, but they were actually pretty dangerous from distance tonight. Unfortunately, that hurt us a bit.”
The Terriers continued to push despite being down three goals and found a consolation goal in the 90th minute. Junior forward Morgan Fagan headed in a rebound to get the Terriers on the board, but it was too little too late for BU.
Despite the loss, Brown was upbeat about her team’s season.
“They’re a fantastic group of women and honestly, just a joy to come out every day and I think they absolutely love being around each other,” Brown said of her team. “We’re very much process oriented and just trying to get better every day and every game, but I think they really showed the fight and the resiliency that’s in this program and in the DNA of BU women’s soccer.”
For the second straight season, Bucknell will travel to West Point, New York to take on Army in the Patriot League Championship on Sunday.