Men’s soccer defeats Iona, 1-0, in rainy match at Nickerson Field

Not even a weather delay could slow down the Boston University men’s soccer team Sunday night, as the Terriers defeated Iona College, 1-0, in a rain-soaked tilt at Nickerson Field.

With the victory, BU improves to 2-0-0 on the season – the first time since 2001 that the team has posted such a record to start the year.

The Terriers completely controlled the flow of the game in the first half, generating multiple chances against the Gaels (0-1-1). Senior forward Dominique Badji served as the spark plug for BU on offense, amassing eight shots (two on goal) over the first 45 minutes of play.

“He’s playing well,” said BU coach Neil Roberts of Badji. “This is the guy that we need to finish for us and he will. He will in time. As long as we keep giving these opportunities, the goals will come forward.”

Not to be outdone by BU’s forwards, the Terrier backfield was almost as impressive, as senior defender Kelvin Madzongwe and junior defender Jeroen Blugh limited Iona to just four shots in the first half.

Iona’s best opportunity came in the 18th minute, as senior Ignacio Maganto fired a shot from the box towards the right post that senior goalkeeper Nick Thomson deflected away with his legs for his only save of the night.

Despite compiling 15 shots and seven corner kicks in the first half, BU could not get anything past Iona goalkeeper Julian Petrello, as both squads entered halftime locked in a 0-0 stalemate.

The pace of the game slowed down in the second half, as a torrential stretch of rain led to officials ordering a 15-minute delay in the 72nd minute of play.

Despite the rough conditions, Roberts noted that the lack of lightning created a window for his team to continue playing.

“We thought the lightning was going to come in because of the eight o’clock kickoff and stuff, we didn’t know what was going to happen. … The rain, we got so much standing water on the field,” Roberts said. “We knew if it stopped, we’d be OK.”

It would not take long for the Terriers to get on the board once the match resumed, as sophomore forward Felix De Bona headed in a free kick from freshman defender Bjarki Benediktsson in the 75th minute to give BU a 1-0 lead that it would not relinquish.

“It was a good goal,” Roberts said. “Felix is a goal scorer. He’s had some chances as well that he hasn’t put away. This is what we got to do to get him going.”

While the Gaels tried to net the equalizer over the final moments of play, the Terriers stood firm on defense, conceding just one Iona shot attempt during the final 15 minutes of the game to secure the victory.

After securing two straight wins at home, the Terriers will look to continue their hot start Wednesday evening, when they take on Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.

“It was two hard-fought games obviously,” Roberts said. “It wasn’t easy. I think it’s coming, it’s not there yet, but it’s coming, and the big thing right now is obviously we need to finish. We created some great chances in both games. … It’s a work in progress and I think this was a better team than the team we played the other night, and we came out with the three points, which was good.”

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