Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Two late goals sink UMass men’s soccer at Boston University

Terriers strike twice late to take result

By Amin Touri, Sports Editor

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A pair of late goals doomed the Massachusetts men’s soccer team on Friday, as the Minutemen conceded twice in the span of 34 seconds to fall to Boston University on the road.

Seniors Jack Fulton and Brandon Merklin each scored, but UMass (2-2-1) couldn’t maintain either lead and fell in the final stages.

“Overall, I thought the result could’ve gone either way,” said UMass coach Fran O’Leary. “We came away disappointed with the result, but heartened with our performance in many aspects of the game.”

With the Minutemen a goal ahead in the 84th minute, BU junior Matt McDonnell pounced on a rebound to equalize after UMass goalkeeper Trey Miller made an initial save but spilled it out front.

Another goalkeeping error put the Terriers in front less than a minute later — Kari Petursson lofted a ball into the box and Miller, expecting a cross, came off his line to claim, but misjudged it and couldn’t keep the ball from floating over his head for the winner.

“We just switched off,” O’Leary said. “We use an analogy — it’s like a four-engine plane. If you switch off, the first engine goes, it’s okay, you can still fly. But then the second engine, the third engine, the final engine blows and you crash. When you play zonally, you’ve got different opportunities to cut out situations — we didn’t cut out in that minute and a half, and it cost us.”

UMass dominated the first half, but needed 41 minutes to break through. Attacking from right fullback, Dylan Cranmer slid a ball through for Fulton, who took it first time on the half-volley and fired it past Terrier goalkeeper William Bonnelyche at the near post to open the scoring from a tough angle.

“I thought in the first half, we played as well as maybe any UMass team since I’ve been here,” said O’Leary. “We were on the front foot, we scored a terrific goal, we had two other goals called back, and I thought overall we dominated.”

BU equalized on the other side of halftime, as a deflected free kick came to McDonnell, who hit it on the half-volley past Miller to tie the match at 1-1.

Some penalty area chaos gave Merklin an opportunity in the 63rd minute, and the senior center back nodded home his first goal of the season to pull the Minutemen back ahead.

The Terriers left it late, but McDonnell’s second goal and Petursson’s winner gave the hosts all they needed to secure the win.

“Credit to BU, they came out in the second half and it was a more even game,” O’Leary said. “We switched off a couple of times and they punished us.

“It’s a learning lesson for our team. When you concede a goal, people tend to think, we’ve got to score right away. It’s not that; the key is after you concede, the next few minutes, you don’t lose the game. And we conceded a second goal, and then as a result of that went on to lose the game. We need to and we will manage the next five minutes after a goal better, that’s probably the best learning point we’ll take from [Friday].”

The Minutemen have a quick turnaround on their hands, as Atlantic Coast Conference powerhouse Clemson comes to town on Sunday for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Rudd Field.

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Amin_Touri.

 

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