Saturday, 2:00 PM
Boston University (14-4-3; 2nd – Patriot; WTSR – 1.56, 1st – Patriot)
Northeastern (14-4-3; 1st – Colonial; WTSR – 1.46, 1st – Colonial)
I’m Seeing Double!
Yeah, these teams are pretty similar, right down to the W-L-T record, aren’t they?
BU’s Got A Pretty Impressive WTSR Rating, But They Didn’t Win Their League…
Yeah, go figure. The Terriers dropped some points in bizarre fashion to some of the Patriot League’s lesser teams but came through where it counted. Two wins over regular season champ Colgate proved that BU was the league’s best team, a fact backed up by their glittering WTSR rating, which puts them up in the “dominance” stratosphere with some of the biggest of big conference schools.
Is It Defense First As Usual For The Terriers?
Of course. BU gave up just five goals in nine league matches, which actually was just fourth best in the defense obsessed Patriot League. Still, they gave up less than a goal a game all season, with the likes of Kai Miller and Ariana Aston playing their roles well on the backline to stifle and frustrate the opposition. Another big fact? The Terriers didn’t concede multiple goals all season and haven’t done so in a non-NCAA Tournament match in thirty-six matches.
Will The Offense Get Bogged Down As It Often Has Against Better Teams?
Possibly. But BU also comes in on an offensive hot streak, scoring multiple goals in each of their last five matches. As always, the Terriers aren’t going to light it up on offense in tougher matchups, but they at least have a solid scorer in Jenna Fisher, who comes in in form with four goals in league play but just seven overall. Ana Cuffia took the most shots for the club in league play but failed to find the back of the net on those twenty-two attempts. Erica Kosienski provides a punch from off the bench, while Taylor Krebs also had three goals as a starter for the Terriers. The biggest worry might be that Northeastern might have the club’s number defensively having beaten them once already this year.
So These Two Did Meet Earlier…
Yeah, in mid-September at the end of non-conference play. As you’d expect, it was almost a rock fight, but the CAA side seemingly had the better of it by a slight margin with a slight advantage in shots on goal and a huge one in corner kicks. More importantly, they managed to win the match on a late goal from Bianca Calderone.
And Northeastern Went From Strength to Strength?
Yeah, there was little indication that Tracey Leone’s side was going to be a big time contender in the CAA based on some wildly inconsistent non-conference results. But they turned it on once league play started and only suffered blemishes in a loss to Hofstra and draw with Delaware on their march to CAA glory. They also were able to take revenge on the Pride in the CAA Tournament final in a 2-0 win.
Northeastern Likes The Defense Too?
Well, they gave up just six goals all season, so you be the judge. The Huskies kept a whopping sixteen clean sheets this year, including in five of their last six and through a five game stretch at one point. Bianca Calderone is the CAA Defensive Player of the Year and forms a brutally effective backline with Mackenzie Dowd and Awnalisa Walker. They’ve got the CAA’s best goalkeeper in Paige Burnett as well and will fancy their chances of shutting out BU again having already done so once this season.
But They Can Actually Score?
Yeah. The Huskies averaged two goals a game in the league, only behind the offensive juggernaut of Hofstra’s. There aren’t any huge scoring threats for the Huskies, but they have multiple weapons with which to trouble opponents. In all likelihood, it’s going to be the scoring duo of Hannah Lopiccolo and Kayla Cappuzzo that will threaten opposing defenses. The pair put up identical league scoring lines, with three goals and two assists each in nine matches. Cappuzzo’s probably a bit more dangerous, though Lopiccolo won league Rookie of the Year honors. Youth may mean problems against the top defenses, but they should still be able to challenge BU’s defense on Saturday.
So, Who Wins, and Will They Trouble Anyone Further?
Blah, blah, it’s tough to beat the same opponent twice in the same season. Boston University has home field and probably a bit more experience, so I would give them the slightest of edges against NU. But Northeastern also has the more dangerous weapons in attack, though youth may cost them dearly in a competition where there’s no substitute for experience. As for the next round? Florida State’s probably going to squash Saturday’s winner like an ant.