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Finishing Touch Eludes Leopards in Loss to BU

Oct. 7, 2017

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EASTON, Pa. – The Lafayette men’s soccer team had its chances on Saturday afternoon on Mike Bourger ’44 Field at Oaks Stadium, but the finishing touch never surfaced in a 2-0 loss to Boston U.

Both of the visiting goals came in the second half of play, with the Terriers tallying a 65th-minute marker and a 77th-minute score on the afternoon. The loss drops the Leopards to 1-3 in Patriot League action and 1-11 on the year overall, while Boston U. improves to 4-0 in league play and 5-6-1 on the year.

The scoring chances came early and often with two good looks in the eighth and ninth minutes. First, working down the right-center of the Lafayette defense, BU’s Peter Kargbo fired a strike toward the right side of goal, forcing a strong diving save to his left from Leopards’ senior goalkeeper Brad Seeber.

Then, the Maroon and White counter came in the form of a connection between freshman Andrew Venezia and sophomore Evan Vare. Venezia’s cross from the left side found Vare all alone in front of goal in the middle of the box. The normally-clinical finisher hit a mis-guided header, though, that went right into the hands of BU goalkeeper Michael Bernardi, ending the threat.

The game became more defensive over the next 30 minutes or so before Lafayette looked to have taken the 1-0 lead. Sophomore Dylan Royalty sent a long ball over the Terrier back-line that was run onto by classmate James Gibson with just Bernardi to beat. Gibson worked a touch around Bernardi, but it was too heavy and, once he was able to corral it, Bernardi was back in position to make a save and clear it out of danger.

As the game moved into the second half, the momentum remained on the Lafayette offensive side as Vare hit the post on an effort in the 48th minute, again created initially by Venezia. Unfortunately, it was Boston U. that would find the finishing touches midway through the second stanza.

In the 65th minute, TJ Butzke sent a pass out to the right to a cutting Toti Knutsson, who was able to chip a shot over a charging Seeber. Austin D’Anna was there on the opposite side of goal for the easy touch finish and the 1-0 advantage.

Then, just over 10 minutes later, Butzke found Matt McDonnell for the insurance score. Sending a cross in from the left wing, McDonnell beat Seeber to the ball at the near post, cutting in front of the net-minder and finishing in the left side.

That score took the wind out of Lafayette’s sails as the visitors saw out the final 13 minutes to walk away with the 2-0 victory. Shots favored the Terriers by a 9-8 margin and Boston U. took seven corners compared to just one for the Maroon and White.

Lafayette goes out of conference for its next matchup, hosting Yale on Tuesday at 7 p.m.