25 Sep Boston University Tops Navy in Saturday Matinee
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – In a showdown of the two teams picked atop the 2021 Patriot League Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll, the visiting Boston University Terriers topped the Navy Midshipmen by a score of 3-1 on Saturday afternoon. The Terriers (5-5-1, 2-1 PL) took advantage of their chances in the first half to build a 2-0 lead before the Mids (5-5-1, 1-2 PL) were forced to try and comeback in the second half in front of their home fans at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility. Jenna Daunt (So., Haymarket, Va.) led Navy’s effort in the second half as she found the back of the net less than three minutes into the second period.
“We started well and were creating chances early in the game,” remarked head coach Carin Gabarra. “Our attack was pretty good and we came out with really good energy. We had a couple of early chances that we couldn’t finish and sometimes that drains you a little bit. Then when the field got flipped, we weren’t marking tight enough and putting pressure on the ball and they scored off those chances. When a goal is scored the next thing to watch for is the reaction in play. In the first half we gave up a goal and our reaction wasn’t good; they came right back and got a second goal. They’re a good team that knows how to attack and how to get behind you. They don’t give up and are consistently running at you and are good with the ball. I don’t think we put a complete 90 together, I think we put together a good 60-65 minutes of play, but that’s not enough against a team the caliber of Boston. I think we generated good chances, but we have to be better in the moments that matter.”
Navy began the game on Saturday with great energy and a handful of high percentage scoring looks within the opening 20 minutes. A deep throw-in into the box by Sadie McCaleb (Jr., Loganton, Pa.) and a header flick-on by Amanda Graziano (Fr., Middlebury, Conn.) set up Alexa Riddle (Fr., Tomball, Texas) for a volley shot on goal that looped up towards the upper-90 in the 11th minute only for Boston’s goalkeeper Celia Braun to snag it out of the air. Less than four minutes later Riddle was the creator of Navy’s next scoring chance as she spun around her defender deep in the corner and whipped a cross into the six-yard box where the on-coming Daunt cracked a shot out of mid-air though her shot loudly rang off the post.
Mattie Gallagher (So., Gilbertsville, Pa.) was up for the task on the opposite end of the field as the Mids’ goalkeeper dove to her left in the 21st minute to snare Boston’s first shot on goal of the contest.
With the score still knotted at 0-0 and a little over 20 minutes left before halftime, the Terriers broke through with the game’s first goal at 24:32 as the visitors built up the left wing and found an open Amy Thompson in the center of the goal box for the one-touch shot and score.
Navy nearly tied it up four minutes later in a chaotic series of plays as Boston’s keeper aggressively charged off her line, missed the ball only to see Caitlin Doran (Jr., Queens, N.Y.) and Graziano’s shots blocked by Terrier defenders in quick succession. Back in possession of the ball once again, Graziano took aim at the wide-open goal and ripped a shot only to have a Boston defender sweep away the shot on goal inside the six-yard box for the team save.
Dodging those dangerous shots by Daunt and Graziano, the visiting Terriers were able to extend their lead to 2-0 at 33:20 as Jenna Oldham curled a low shot around the Mids’ wall off of a free kick from 25 yards out.
Boston had two more shots on goal to close out the first half though both were turned away by Gallagher to hold it at a 2-0 score.
At the break, Navy held a 9-8 advantage in shots, though Boston put five of those shots on goal, including two into the back of the net.
Coming out of halftime trailing by two goals, the Mids immediately clawed their way back into the game as Riddle sprinted up the left wing and charged towards the net before laying off a pass to Daunt, who didn’t hesitate and lofted a shot to the back upper-90 of the goal at 47:11.
Navy kept up its breakneck pace of charging to goal and looking to draw even as in the ensuing nine minutes of action the freshmen forward duo of Graziano and Riddle combined for three shots on goal, while another attempt from Riddle was blocked by a defender right after leaving her foot.
The Terriers were able to withstand that run of play by the Mids and held the home squad without a shot on goal for the next 15-plus minutes. Kat Healey (So., King George, Va.) registered that shot on goal that unfortunately for the trailing team was the final look on frame for the game.
In the final moments of regulation, Abigail McNulty put away an insurance goal at 89:48.
For the game, Navy outshot Boston, 17-13, though both teams tallied seven shots on goal. The Mids also held an advantage in corner kicks, 6-3.
“When you’re down two goals to a team like Boston, that has experienced coaches and players, you have to make your chances count,” said Gabarra in closing. “Credit to our team for coming out after halftime and scoring right away.
“We’ll be focusing on some different things next week in training, but we’re improving in our attack and creating good chances, we just need to better in executing in the box and finishing.”
Navy will be back in action next Saturday, October 2 on the road at Colgate in a rematch of the 2020-21 Patriot League Championship. Kickoff between the Mids and Raiders is set for 1 p.m. in Hamilton, N.Y.
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