At Manchester Soccer Series, BU soars past UVM

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MANCHESTER — The second day of the Manchester Soccer Series ended just as the first day did, with a Boston-based school coming out on top.

The Boston University men's soccer team took on the University of Vermont at Applejack Stadium and the Terriers used two second-half goals to win the exhibition contest.

BU wasted very little time getting on the board and punched in its first goal within the first minute as junior Zion Balogun put the Terriers ahead.

"[Zion] is a good player. He hasn't really gotten it together fully yet, which is fine," said BU coach Neil Roberts. "They took advantage of the opportunity. We really tried to organize defensively better and so the opportunity came and Zion finished it."

The Terriers dominated the early possession in the first half and did the same out of the break in the second. While Balogun had the quick score in the first, senior Matt McConnell did the honors less than 10 minutes into the second half.

UVM coach Rob Dow recognizes his team needs to be a bit better out of the breaks as it heads toward the regular season.

"It's no doubt that in the first half and second half, we need to have better starts," Dow said. "We're giving away goals and that can't happen. If you give up a goal, it could be the end of the game."

The Catamounts scored their lone tally of Tuesday's scrimmage in about 11 minutes into play. UVM made a nice run into the box and one of its players was fouled, allowing for a free kick.

Freshman Hans Oeftger stepped up for the shot and sailed it over the BU wall and keeper to tie the game 1-1, a score that held until the half.

"For us to respond from a punch and come back was great. It was a great run by Noah Stracqualursi and Hans is just critical on those free kicks," Dow said.

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After the score from McConnell early the second half put the Terriers ahead, BU put the game out of reach with about 11 minutes to play. The Terriers had a perfect cross to the far post and Jacopo Ambrosetti got his head on the ball for a perfect header inside the box.

When it came down to it, the final score of Tuesday's contest didn't count for anything. What it did do was provide a test for both sides and help them key in on where they can improve as their respective seasons approach.

"When we play good teams like BU, they are really going to test us and ask some questions about our back line and how we can develop chemistry up top," Dow said. "The record doesn't count, but at the same time, we had some young guys step up and makes some plays today. These guys are getting minutes at the Division I level and getting experience."

"I think both teams got to see what they needed to see," Roberts said.

This was BU's first time playing in the Manchester Soccer Series and the team loved their experience.

"We had a really good two days. We probably should have come up a little earlier," Roberts said. "It's beautiful up here and we had a great stay. It was a fantastic facility and a good competitive game."

The UVM men are used to playing at Applejack having taken part in the Soccer Series previously and trained their last fall and in the spring.

"[Applejack] has become our home away from home," Dow said. "[Manchester town manager] John O'Keefe has been awesome to us and making sure we have what we need. The surface is unbelievable and the fans were great."

The Manchester Soccer Series continues on Sunday afternoon with a doubleheader at Applejack Stadium.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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