Following Friday’s game, head coach Ed Kelly sounded amazed as he rattled off the names of each freshman who had just played in Boston College men’s soccer’s 1-0 season-opening victory against Quinnipiac University.
First year players Emanuel Estrada, Derek Lyons, Abe Bibas and Joshua Forbes, and Simon Emstrom all started, while Trevor Davock came in up top and Tommy Garcia-Morillo helped out in midfield throughout.
“It’s a learning curve for us,” Kelly said. “But we had some standout performances from some kids in the first game at home.”
None had a better career opener, though, than Davock who came on in the second half and provided the game-winner in the 68th minute.
With fresh legs and an eye for goal, the young forward received the ball out wide, cut in toward the box and unleashed a shot over the keeper’s head to the far post. It was a goal that Kelly has been used to seeing as he followed Davock through youth clubs, but for the freshman, it was a bit different than just a run-of-the-mill goal.
“All preseason and in practices I haven’t been able to find a goal at all,” a bright-eyed Davock said. “It’s just a big weight off my shoulder.”
While all the freshmen impressed, the day belonged to the local kid, who played in front of family, friends, and teachers from his hometown of Medway, Mass. and the nearby Rivers School.
Aside from the one BC goal, each team had only a few quality chances, including a missed breakaway by Zeiko Lewis for the Eagles and a flubbed shot on goal by Bobcats’ forward Rashawn Dally.
BC started a bit flat, enabling the Bobcats—who looked sharper on the ball—to control possession for a bit. Diminutive midfielder Max Rothenbucher was a pest in possession and got the best of the Eagles’ midfield on a few occasions, but no other Bobcat gave BC similar fits.
Staying tight and laying deep, the Eagles were solid on defense but slow on the offensive end. While neither goalie was tested, the game came down to how this young Eagles team performed in its first game of the season.
Starting five freshmen, five sophomores, and one junior, BC passed the test with ease.
Other than Davock, Estrada looked like the MVP of the game. Composed on the ball and an athletic monster in the air, the Mexican center-back controlled the game from the back, constantly relieving pressure by winning aerial duels and playing it back to keeper Cedric Saladin. Estrada and sophomore Len Zeugner formed a formidable duo as the heart of the defense.
Lyons, although not as involved in the game as others, looked solid as he marauded up the left side in attack. Forbes and Bibas were rotated in and out of the midfield, while Enstrom played well in physical battles up top, despite not taking advantage of some clear chances.
Lewis, the oldest of the starters, provided most of the attack with his silky moves and quick feet. Lewis and the offense will benefit even more when last year’s leading scorer Ike Normesinu returns from injury, giving the Bermuda international a familiar face to link up with. The pair should provide chemistry that was at times absent for the young squad Friday.
In front of the goal, Saladin, a redshirt freshman, played aggressively on a number of plays, coming way out toward the corner for a contested ball and commanding the box with punches.
The Swiss keeper, however, will not play Sunday, according to Kelly. With both Saladin and last year’s starter Alex Kapp coming off recent minor injuries, Kelly plans on the rotating the two early on until a true number one takes over.
As with the first game of any season, the Eagles were far from peak form, but for a team as young as this, a one-goal victory with underclassmen at the helm is more than enough to make Kelly all smiles afterward.
“Tell them how I taught you to do that,” the coach chirped at the goal-scorer during his interview before walking away.
If Kelly truly taught Davock how to do that, then his team is in prime position to develop into a finely-tuned goal-scoring machine in the near future.
“All good, all good, we just have to build off this now,” Kelly said before re-joining the youthful post-game exuberance surrounding his team.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor