BOSTON – Taking on the defending regular season Patriot League champions, the Boston University Terriers, the Navy women’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 decision as the Terriers netted the go-ahead goal in the 84th minute in a conference game at Nickerson Field in Boston. In a hard-fought contest, the Mids (4-4-3, 1-2 PL) put ten shots on goal but could not find the back of the net as the Terriers’ (5-6) goalkeeper Cecilia Braun turned in a career-best performance with ten saves.
In net for Navy, Mattie Gallagher (Jr., Gilbertsville, Pa.) made four saves, including one on a penalty kick in the 78th minute.
“This was an ultra-competitive game that could have gone either way,” remarked head coach Carin Gabarra. “They made one more play than us and made it count. We put ten shots on goal; we have to make those yield a positive result. Boston is a well-coached and disciplined team. We knew this was going to be a hard-fought match. I was pleased with our effort and fight for all 90 minutes today.”
The game opened with 20 minutes of action in the midfield, with both teams feeling each other out. During this period of play, Boston registered three shots, all of which were off target, while Navy only took one, a Katie Herrmann (Jr., Charlotte, N.C.) attempt that was wide of the goal.
Kassidy Borden (Jr., Leesburg, Va.) tallied the game’s first shot on goal in the 26th minute as she ripped a low free kick from 35-yards out that forced Braun to bounce off her line and to her right. A little over 10 minutes later, Kat Healey (Jr., King George, Va.) sent a dangerous corner kick into the back of the six-yard box that saw Braun bat it away from a host of crashing Midshipmen attackers.
As a team, three of Navy’s five shots in the first half were on goal, while none of Boston’s six looks required a reaction from Gallagher.
That stat didn’t last for long as in the opening 4:51 of play in the second half; the Terriers twice tested the Mids’ goalkeeper with shots on frame. Gallagher denied both Amy Thompson and Jenna Oldham’s shots with full-extension diving saves.
The fast-paced action continued as Alexa Riddle (So., Tomball, Texas) responded with two shots on goal of her own in quick succession in the 52nd and 55th minute.
Just over four minutes later, Jordan Townsend (Fr., Marriottsville, Md.) aimed at the back of the net when she met a Caitlin Doran (Sr., Queens, N.Y.) cross and forcibly snapped a header towards the lower corner of the Boston goal mouth.
Navy kept the pressure on Boston as a turnover in the midfield in the 64th minute saw Jenna Daunt (Jr., Haymarket, Va.) quickly gather the ball and find Amanda Graziano (So., Middlebury, Conn.) around the center line before she played a through ball into space for Isabella Romano (Fr., Syosset, N.Y.), who dribbled into the 18 before putting a left-footed shot on the net only to see Braun leap up and extended herself to the upper right.
Gallagher had her number called less than three minutes later as Marli Rajacich dribbled through the Mids’ defense and put a shot on goal that tried to beat Gallagher between her legs. The junior keeper was fast acting and dropped to her knees to make the stop.
She came through with another spectacular save in the 78th minute as she denied a penalty kick by Thompson. The Terriers’ attacker put her attempt low and to the left, only to see Gallagher drop down and extend her hands to push the shot wide and keep the game at a 0-0 score.
Boston finally broke onto the scoreboard in the 84th minute when Abigail McNulty found Thompson inside the box for a quick settle, spin, and shot.
Trailing by one and less than 15 seconds left in regulation, the Mids had one last look at the goal when Doran gathered a bounding ball off of a Graziano corner kick and ripped a shot, only to see Braun snag the shot and fall to the ground as the clock ticked to all zeroes.
For the game, Boston outshot Navy, 17-14 though the Mids had a substantial 10-5 advantage in shots on goal. The hosts had a slight 8-6 edge in corner kick opportunities on Saturday.
“We just need to get back to work and fine-tune the areas that tripped us up over the past two games. Every Patriot League game is a toss-up at the top of the conference; Wednesday, today, there will be more.”
Navy will be back in action next Friday evening with a home Patriot League tilt versus Colgate. Kickoff between the Mids and the Raiders is set for 7 p.m. at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility in Annapolis.