BUSO performs Shostakovich and Beethoven at Symphony Hall on November 20,
8 p.m.

Vol. IV No. 14   ·   17 November 2000   

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Undefeated in conference
Women’s soccer enjoys best season ever despite NCAA loss to Dartmouth

By Brian Fitzgerald

In 1995, when Nancy Feldman was hired as BU’s first varsity women’s soccer coach, she didn’t think it would take her team merely six years to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Her prediction was a tournament bid in five years -- and it almost came true.

"Without trying to sound completely arrogant," she laughs, "I really hoped we would do it in five years. I’m pretty aggressive in my goal-setting, but I’m also reasonable. And we were close last season."

A year ago, BU was on a roll. The Terriers had posted a 9-1 record in America East and had beaten Hofstra in the first round of the conference tournament. However, a 2-1 postseason loss in Hartford -- the same team that earlier had spoiled an undefeated season -- was a heartbreaker for BU. The stakes were high: the America East championship and an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

However, 2000 would prove to be BU’s year. The Terriers cleared a high hurdle when they blanked Hartford, 3-0, on October 20. The shutout in the Insurance City broke a first-place tie and snapped the Hawks’ 39-game conference winning streak. "We took them by surprise," recalls Feldman. "We totally dominated that game and didn’t give them a chance to get back in it. From start to finish I think it was as perfect a game as we could have played against Hartford."

Then came the Hartford rematch on November 5, which would decide who would cop the conference crown and earn the right to play the country’s elite. This game would also be played south of the state border, but BU had a respectable record away from home (13-7), including a 2-1 playoff victory over Towson November 3. "It didn’t matter that the game was in Hartford," says Feldman. "We had beaten them there before." The Terriers didn’t dominate the Hawks this time, but they scored two quick goals, forcing Hartford to play catch-up. "Hartford played well in the second half, but our kids did a great job defending our half of the field. Our mentality was, ‘Just hang on.’ That’s the way we played in the last 45 minutes."

Feldman knows the danger in that kind of philosophy. Many teams prefer to stay in an attack mode even with a comfortable lead, and not deviate from their original game plan. "But it would have been silly to press up when we were going against the wind," she says. "That would have given Hartford space to work with, and we weren’t about to do that."

BU’s 4-1 victory meant a trip to Holy Cross on November 8 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It also meant another away game, but BU is a road-hardened team, having played 7 of its first 8 games -- as well as 8 of its last 10 games -- in other cities. A goal from Rebecca Beyer (CAS’04) was all that BU needed for the 1-0 victory.

The Terriers’ second round NCAA Tournament game at Dartmouth November 12 was much like their 3-0 loss to the same team on September 20. BU was forced to come from behind, looking at a 2-0 deficit at halftime. With 2:19 into the second half, the Big Green effectively put an end to BU’s season with a 3-0 lead. Allison Merkle (CAS’03) got BU on the board, 3-1, but Dartmouth put the game out of reach when it took a 4-1 lead.

However, the loss couldn’t diminish the fact that this year was BU’s best season ever -- one that saw the Terriers winning all nine regular-season America East games and two conference games in the playoffs. "At the beginning of the season, I didn’t think we’d be undefeated," says Feldman. "I thought that we’d get into the conference tournament. That was one of our goals, and I thought that we had a good enough team to win it. And we had a great run."


17 November 2000
Boston University
Office of University Relations