Drawn by the hype surrounding a rivalry game, the spirit of good fútbol, and a craving for complimentary fried chicken from Raising Cane’s, a program-record 7,379 fans thronged Nickerson Field this past Monday to watch the Boston University men’s soccer team take on the Boston College squad. Playing in front of this enormous crowd, the BC team would ultimately seize a 3-2 victory, taking advantage of some solid scoring opportunities.
“The biggest part was working hard,” BC head coach Ed Kelly said. “You get your chances when you work hard.”
For BC, the first of these chances emerged in the match’s first two minutes. Sophomore midfielder Idrissa Bangura took the ball into the opposing team’s box, striking a shot past BU goalkeeper Matt Gilbert’s outstretched hands, giving the Eagles an early 1-0 advantage.
But this lead would be short-lived. Within three minutes, BU had capitalized on a BC giveaway, with BU midfielder Anthony Viteri sweeping the ball beneath a diving Cedric Saladin. It skidded behind the sophomore goalkeeper and into the BC net, leveling the score, 1-1.
Following Viteri’s goal, and over the course of the next 10 minutes, the BU players persisted as an upfield presence. The Terriers repeatedly gained possession of the ball, with consistent movement around the BC box—BU even secured three corner kicks in three minutes, giving excellent chances for the home squad to take the lead.
But the Eagles withstood the press, and not only held off BU’s advances, but even notched their second goal off the boot of Simon Enstrom in the 16th minute. Rushing toward the BU box and deftly intercepting a pass from Gilbert, the freshman forward maneuvered around the surprised Terrier goalkeeper and kicked the ball into the far side of the net, bringing the score to 2-1.
Though both sides remained aggressive through the end of the first 45 minutes, with Enstrom nearly finishing on a headed effort with about 13 minutes remaining and with Viteri almost getting a shot past Saladin with approximately two minutes left, every effort was proven fruitless.
The Terriers scored first in the second half. The 73rd minute of play was highlighted by BU forward T.J. Butzke’s high-arcing cross into the BC box. His teammate Felix De Bona reached the ball with his foot as it bounced—netting a shot and tying the game at 2-2.
Undeterred, BC responded in the 80th minute, with a second goal from Enstrom. Coming off the bench only moments beforehand, the forward struck a shot into the top corner of the net to secure the decisive 3-2 lead for his team.
“Coach [Kelly] told me to stay focused and stay ready, and then when they scored, 2-2, I knew it was time to shine,” Enstrom said following the match. “[We] got a nice tiki-taka game there–and a nice pass from Trevor [Davock].” Though he admitted that he has had trouble adjusting to the American game, Enstrom conceded that “in that moment, I knew I would put it in the top right.”
Having topped their opponents with the aid of that third goal, BC increased the program’s winning streak against BU to three games. This most recent BC win was also viewed in front of 7,379 fans, the most people to ever attend a BU soccer game at Nickerson Field.
Likely even more important than a victory over a school rival, however, are the larger implications of this particular game—what it meant for the team, moving further into the season.
“It’s a respectful rivalry,” Kelly said. “But, putting that part aside, we have six freshmen on the field, no seniors, [and] four sophomores and juniors,” Kelly said. “So looking at it like that, having a big win when we needed it, and coming back, you go up, you go down, against anybody that’s a great win.”
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor