Score Early, Lose Late: BC Falls To Harvard

What is a dream start? Is it scoring in 30 seconds to put an opponent on the back foot immediately, or pressing your opponent with a few harsh tackles and some really tight marking? Many would consider it to be the quick goal, because it would be absurd to be disappointed by a flying start. Sometimes, though, according to hipster, cliched footballing speak, you can score too early.

It’s a horrifying prospect that playing well can be seen as playing poorly, but as ridiculous as it sounds, it can be true. When Phil Sandgren scored his first goal of the season with four minutes gone against Harvard, the Eagles had the early advantage, but were faced with the daunting task of defending that 1-0 lead for the rest of the match. Head coach Ed Kelly would want more from his team though, but the Crimson was able to pin the Boston College men’s soccer team by going up 2-1 at halftime on its way to a 3-2 overtime victory.

In the opening period of play, though, Harvard came after the Eagles and made the most of its set plays. A long throw-in from the right side of the pitch was cleared, but only as far as Olivier White, who stood at the top of the box and took a half-volleyed shot at Alex Kapp. The junior keeper made the initial stop, but once again, the Eagles were bullied by an opponent in the six-yard box, and Daniel Smith leveled the match.

Harvard took a few more chances in the first half—the best was a volley by White off a flick-on that left Atobra Ampadu for dead. The shot went straight at Kapp though, who dealt with it easily.

The Crimson kept getting forward with quick attacks, though, and a burst down the right flank was capitalized on. The ball was cut back to Kyle Henderson, who stood between the spot at the top of the area. Kapp saved Henderson’s shot and then stopped a follow-up effort by Nate Devine. His double save ended up on the foot of Henderson again. The midfielder finished on an empty net in the same pocket of space where he started.

BC was failed by lazy defending from Len Zeugner and Giuliano Frano in the build up to the goal. At right back and center back, the two headed wide to defend the cross, but jogged back into the box, failing to close down the attackers or at very least the goal.

By the end of the first half, Kapp was standing on his head to make seven saves, which kept the Eagles in the game.

A better second half from the Eagles allowed sophomore Zeiko Lewis, who did not start the match, to have a bit more freedom in the attack. But BC’s defending, especially of balls into the box, remained the problem. Harvard squandered an opportunity from the right side in the 63rd minute, when the Crimson had three consecutive headers around the six-yard box that went on uncontested.

While Isaac Normesinu’s late strike forced overtime, it was the defending of crosses and long balls that once again came into question and cost the Eagles the match. The winner came from a corner kick by Christian Sady and was finished by Tim Schmoll, who got on the wrong side of Kapp and Ampadu at the near post.

While Kapp was knocked down in the process and plead his case with the official, there were three BC defenders in the area, one of whom was marking the near post, though they were not able to defend the well-taken corner.

Laziness in the box will cost the Eagles, especially as they begin to face stronger opposition in ACC teams, including No. 9 Louisville, which comes to town on Friday.

Featured Image by Graham Beck / Heights Senior Staff

About Alex Fairchild 83 Articles
Alex Fairchild was the Online Manager of The Heights in 2015 and Assistant Sports Editor in 2014. He optioned his Football Manager life for a real job with the Boston College men's soccer team, which takes him away from his family and friends even more. You can follow him on Twitter @alexsfairchild.