By Connor Berube
With soccer season underway, the Bridgewater State University men’s soccer team is just starting to heat up. After falling short in their first two contests to Babson College and Eastern Connecticut State University, both by 1-0 scores, the Bears appear to have found their groove, having defeated Plymouth State University, 3-0, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1-0 on September 11 to even their record at 2-2.
On Wednesday night, the Bears lost to Rhode Island College, 3-2 in overtime, snapping their two game winning streak and putting their record at 2-3.
Against MIT, BSU carried out an attack less than five minutes into the game. Senior captain Craig Shadduck (Braintree, MA) beat Engineer keeper Samuel Cannon to the ball with a shot inside the right post after having his shot set up by teammate Colin Neri (Upton, MA).
The goal proved to be all the offense the Bears would need to climb back to .500, as they showed impressive ball control, out shooting MIT 14 to 8. Despite just one save, senior co-captain and BSU keeper Matt Bagley (Braintree, MA) recorded the sixth shutout of his career and his second in as many games.
“Bagley has been fantastic as a goalie for us,” said Bears head coach Brendan Adams. “He’s given up two goals so far and even then has been able to keep us in games.”
Besides Bagley’s efforts this season, Neri has done more than his share when it comes to working hard and contributing to the team. The senior forward does an excellent job at wearing down the opponent’s backfield, allowing him and his teammates to take advantage of their fatigue.
Adams considers Neri’s recent performance “the best game he’s played from top to bottom in fours years.’”
Other notables that have stepped up include first year defensive players Camilo Mora (Houston, Texas) and Nicholas Keddie (Abington, MA), who Adams hopes will hold the Bears together as they gain more experience.
Even with three tough defeats to begin the season, the Bears are showing that they can compete against top ranked competition, like Babson who is currently fifth in New England.
“We’ve played pretty good soccer so far,” Bagley said. “The losses we’ve had have been against really solid teams. We’ll continue to work hard and keep our opponents off the scoreboard.”
In their first win, BSU’s offense broke out against Plymouth State with goals from Neri and juniors Steve McAvoy (Walpole, MA) and Josh Goehring (Haverhill, MA).
Adams has every reason to be optimistic about his squad.
“The effort has always been there, but I would have to say composure has been the key for us,” he said. “Just knowing what we can get away with and what we can’t. With that, we’ve gone back to the basics.When we’re better at that doing that, we won’t have to work as hard because we’re not giving the ball away as much.”
The Bears next scheduled game will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. as they take on Framingham State University.
Connor Berube is a Comment contributor. Editor-In-Chief Greg Dudek edited this story. Email him at email@example.com.