Cats battle #10 BU to draw

In the midst of a constant afternoon downpour, Sunday’s America East matchup between the University of Vermont women’s soccer team and Boston University ended in a 0-0 double-overtime tie. Boston University, currently ranked 10th in the national poll, ran into a solid defensive Catamount squad that nearly ended the Terriers’ perfect record in America East conference play. “We are very proud of the effort by the team today,” head coach Kerry Dziczkaniec said. In the first half, the three time defending America East champion Terriers dominated a resilient Catamount club. Playing much of the first 45 minutes in front of the umbrella laden bleachers at Centennial Field, the Terriers outshot the Catamounts 5-1 but were unable to capitalize where it matters most–on the scoreboard. “The team responded well from our Albany game,” Dziczkaniec said. “They came out mentally and physically prepared, which is a credit to their commitment to excellence. As a result, they had a great all-around performance and we were able to create many opportunities on the #10 ranked team. They played with a lot of heart and pride showed their true colors.” In a game where positioning was crucial on a sloppy, mud soaked field, the Catamounts dodged their greatest first half bullet in the 12th minute when BU forward Casey Brown launched a shot above the head of a leaping Eliza Bradley. Luckily for the Cats’ freshman goalkeeper, the ball deflected ever so slightly off the top of the Vermont goal. Offensively, the Catamounts were baffled by the aggressive containment of the Terrier defense, unable to muster any sustained offensive pressure until nearly the 16-minute mark of the first half. The second half saw play open up more, with both teams looking to take advantage of the soaked field. BU had a good chance but freshman Farrell McClernon was stopped by Bradley on a point blank attempt in the 30th minute. Visibly retreating, the Catamounts dodged another bullet as a breakaway attempt from Terrier Lauren Erwin sailed high and wide. Finally showing a sense of urgency, the Catamounts regrouped and began to dictate offensive play. Senior forward Cassandra VanLeeuwen, playing with a Tedy Bruschi-like reckless abandon for loose balls and slide tackles, helped to infiltrate a once seemingly impenetrable Terrier defense. VanLeeuwen nearly put Vermont on top several times but BU goalkeeper Stephanie Dreyer was equal to the task. Rejuvenated and determined, the Catamounts had their best chance in regulation when sophomore Kaitlin Francis broke through the Terrier defense and had an open look at the goal but her shot was denied by the diving goalkeeper. In the final seconds of regulation, the rain-soaked Centennial crowd held its collective breath as BU forward Marisha Schumacher-Hodge beat Bradley to a loose ball in the left side of the goalie box. However, Schumacher-Hodge, off balance and sensing time’s expiration, could only muster a weak attempt at the open goal. As overtime began, conditions deteriorated severely. Vermont won the coin toss and dictated play in the Terriers’ zone, outshooting BU 4-1 in the first overtime period. The game nearly ended in a 1-0 Catamount victory but Vermont freshman Carson Lauderoute, taking a breakaway feed perfectly in stride, was robbed by Dreyer. The game remained scoreless into the second overtime. Boston University carried play throughout the final period but was unable to beat a stoically contained Bradley, who made sure the contest finished a draw. Bradley, continuing her incredible play of late, racked up six saves and her third shutout in the last four games. For Dreyer, her four saves resulted in her ninth shutout of the year. Boston University remains atop the America East conference at 9-2-2 (2-0-1). Vermont now stands at 3-6-2 overall and 1-1-1 in conference play.