Nov. 8, 2000
The third-seeded Eagles are set to face seventh-seeded Rutgers in the BIG EAST tournament semifinals. Boston College reached the league's final four by virtue of its 2-1, overtime win over sixth-seeded Georgetown at the Newton Campus Soccer Field in the quarterfinals. Rutgers defeated second-seeded St. John's in a 3-2 double-overtime affair at St. John's in the quarterfinals. The Eagles are making their first appearance in the league semifinals since 1995, when they were the top seed and fell to fourth-seeded St. John's, 2-1. Rutgers was last season's top seed in the championships, but dropped its semifinal match to fifth-seeded Georgetown, 2-0.
In six series matches, the Eagles have never beaten the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers holds a 5-0-1 advantage in the series history. The last time the Eagles scored on Rutgers was back in 1996 as Rutgers has shutout the Eagles in four straight games. In the series' first meeting in 1995, the two teams battled to a 1-1, overtime stalemate. Since then, Rutgers has won the annual contests 3-1 (1996), 2-0 (1997), 1-0 (1998), 1-0 (1999) and 1-0 (2000).
The Last Meeting
On Sept. 22, the 2-4 Rutgers team traveled to the Heights to take on the 4-1 Boston College team. Both teams battled through a scoreless regulation, but Dustin Sheppard's overtime penalty kick gave the Scarlet Knights a chance to win the game on one kick. Rutgers took the 1-0 overtime decision. Eagle keeper Chris Hamblin made eight saves in the loss, keeping BC in the game while the team was outshot 21-12 by Rutgers.
The Eagles' Coaches
Ed Kelly is at the helm of the Boston College soccer team for his 12th season. He has amassed a 106-102-24 record at the Heights. In 16 seasons overall as a head coach, Kelly has a 146-115-21 career record. This season, he has taken a team predicted ninth in the Preseason BIG EAST Coaches' Poll and led it to a third-place finish, home field advantage in the playoffs and a 10-6-1 overall record (7-3-1 league mark).
Inheriting a program hovering around .500, Kelly guided the 1990 team to 14 wins, the BIG EAST title and an NCAA berth. In 1995, he led a young, upstart Eagle program picked eighth in the BIG EAST in the preseason Coaches' Poll to an 8-1-1 record and the regular season championship. Before coming to Boston College, Kelly was the head coach at Seton Hall from 1985 to 1988. He turned a 1-10 program into two-time BIG EAST champions and brought it to the NCAA tournament twice. He has been named BIG EAST Coach of the Year twice - in 1989 and 1990, both times whiel he was at Boston College.
Assisting Kelly is Zach Samol, who is in his first year as the Eagles' assistant. An All-Ivy selection at Dartmouth in the backfield from 1994-97, Samol joined Kelly in July to coach the team. He is a 2000 graduate of Dartmouth after taking two years to play professional soccer with the Cape Cod Crusaders and Connecticut Wolves.
Last Time Out
Chris Cleary's goal in the 102nd minute sealed the Eagles' first trip the BIG EAST semifinals since 1995. Cleary took Sjur Gundersen's feed off a cross and netted the decisive score in overtime for the 2-1 win over sixth-seeded Georgetown in the BIG EAST Quarterfinal game played at the Newton Campus Soccer Field. Bobby Thompson opened the scoring in the 29th minute, collecting a header from Casey Schmidt and finding the back of the net. Adam Pfeifer also assisted on the goal. The Hoyas made it a new game in the 46th minute when Kenny Owens took a feed from Tony Soric to tie the game at 1-1. But the Eagles were not about to conceed homefield advantage and as the first overtime was winding to a close, Cleary made the most of his opportunity and sent the Eagles packing for Piscataway. The goal was his second overtime game-winner this season.
A Turn-Around Year
Last season, the Eagles put together a 6-9-2 campaign, but in 2000, Ed Kelly's team has turned the program around with a 10-6-1 effort.
After a 1-0 loss to Stony Brook in the season opener, Boston College came back and defeated cross-town rival Boston University, 4-3, in double overtime. Junior Chris Cleary led the scoring, including the third goal and the game-winner in the 119th minute. Freshman Ramon Smith added his first goal of the year off the bench.
The Eagles then topped Notre Dame, 2-0, at home for their first conference win of 2000 on scores by freshman Kenny Adams and sophomore Casey Schmidt.
With the next two games on the road, Boston College traveled to Providence and earned a 3-0 victory over the Friars. BC played the last minutes with only 10 players as senior Sjur Gundersen was cautioned a second time in the game and was ejected in the 78th minute.
Three days later, the Eagles went to South Orange, N.J., to face Seton Hall and defeated the Pirates, 1-0, despite being outshot 17-3 in the game. Boston College also played a man down for the entire second half as senior Jorgen Lie received two yellows by the game's 44th minute. Schmidt's goal in the 4th minute held as the game-winner from Cleary as keeper senior Chris Hamblin made five saves to preserve the win. Schmidt's goal was his fourth in four games, marking a career high scoring streak.
Returning home a week later to face Rutgers, the Eagles managed to keep the Scarlet Knights off the board until the 92nd minute when a successful penalty kick sunk the Eagles in overtime and handed BC its first BIG EAST loss of the season.
The Eagles redeemed themselves against Villanova on Oct. 24, with a 2-0 victory. The team's leading scorers - Schmidt and Cleary - netted the team's scores.
Boston College next faced two Ivy League opponents in Harvard and Dartmouth, dropping both. The Eagles fell, 1-0, in a physical match at Harvard on Oct. 1, and then traveled to Dartmouth and lost 2-1. Gundersen tallied the Eagles' lone goal on the team's first penalty kick of the season. It was the first goal of his career.
Boston College fell to West Virginia, who was searching for their first BIG EAST win of the season. They found it with two late-game goals and defeated the Eagles, 2-0, in Morgantown. BC was playing without senior captain Kevin Boyd who was suspended for the game after accumulating his fifth yellow card of the season against Dartmouth.
The Eagles then began a stretch that saw them play four ranked teams in a row. They took five points and only allowed two goals in the stretch. They tied then top-ranked Connecticut, 1-1 and then shutout seventh-ranked Pittsburgh, 1-0, for the second consecutive year on Schmidt's goal. Boston College traveled to No. 12 St. John's and despite being outshot 10-1 in regulation, held the Red Storm scoreless in the first 90:00. However, St. John's scored in the extra session to win, 1-0. Finally, the Eagles topped 22nd-ranked Syracuse, 1-0, in Syracuse for a key two points in the standings on Cleary's score.
In a game with home-field advantage implications, Boston College topped Georgetown, 1-0, to secure the Eagles a third-place finish in the league. Sophomore Bobby Thompson scored the deciding goal in the 14th minute off a feed from Cleary and Lie. Hamblin made eight saves for his career-high seventh shutout of the season.
The final game of the regular season was a non-league match-up between Brown and the Eagles. Thompson again proved to be the hero, coming in off the bench to score the game-winner in the 67th minute from seniors Martin Cantillo and Brian Mollo. Three keepers combined for the win with sophomore Danny Caruso getting the win in his first action of the season. The starting line-up featured 10 of the 11 seniors on the Eagles roster in celebration of Senior Day.
The Eagles marched into the BIG EAST Quarterfinals with homefield advantage and used the added benefit for the win, netting a 2-1 overtime victory over sixth-seeded Georgetown on Cleary's goal in the 102nd minute. The Eagles surrendered a 1-0 lead in the 46th minute, then held on for the win in the extra session.
Head coach Ed Kelly named seniors Paul Bourke and Kevin Boyd as 2000 team captains. Bourke served as co-captain last year with Paul Cornoni. Both were backs and provided solid leadership to a young squad. Boyd was named captain in the spring and was also moved from his usual offensive position (midfielder and forward) to the backfield after the need for leadership was evidenced in spring practices.
It Started as a Dream Season - Then Finished the Same Way
With its 4-1 start, the Boston College men's soccer team got off to its best start since the program's first year - 1978. In that year, BC won its first three games, dropped its fourth, and then won its next three. Three other times - 1998, 1993 and 1990 - the team kicked off the season with a 3-1-1 record. In 1993, Boston College finished the season 12-5-1 and lost to St. John's, 1-0, in overtime of the BIG EAST Conference championship game.
After a dip in the middle third of the season, the Eagles picked up right where the first half of the season left off, posting a 4-1-1 record down the stretch. Four games were against ranked teams and the Eagles secured a third-place finish in the league and the first home-field playoff bid since 1995.
Though Boston College boasts a roster of 11 seniors, there is a significant youth movement going on at the Heights. Of the usual starting 11, only three players are in their final season of eligibility.
The regular starting lineup boasts three true freshmen (Kenny Adams, Adam Pfeifer, Kirt Dorsett), two sophomores (Casey Schimdt and Bobby Thompson) and two juniors (Chris Cleary and Martin Cantillo - redshirted). In addition, the team's 12th man - the first man off the bench - Ramon Smith, is also a freshman.
The team's top five scorers are underclassmen and eight of the team's top 10 point-getters are returning next season.
Leaps and Bounds in League Play
Boston College qualified for the BIG EAST tournament for the first time since 1997. In that year, Boston College amassed a 4-6-1 league record and was seeded eighth in the conference championships. The Eagles lost to No. 1 seed St. John's, 1-0, in overtime.
This season, the Eagles put together a 7-3-1 conference season. The seven wins are the second most ever for the Eagles in BIG EAST play. In 1995, Boston College had eight wins - a school record in the league. Before that season, the most wins the Eagles accumulated in the BIG EAST was five, which they did three times (1994, 1993, 1990).
A major factor for the turnaround has been the combined play of the defense and goaltenders. After allowing 15 goals in league play in 1999, the Eagles only surrendered five goals in 11 league games this season, and one of those was on a penalty kick.
Entering the last third of the season, Boston College saw four ranked teams in the final six games of the season. The Eagles rose to the challenge, taking two wins and one tie from the teams. On Oct. 11, the Eagles tied then top-ranked UConn, 1-1, at home through two overtimes. On Oct. 15, BC defeated seventh-ranked Pittsburgh, 1-0, at home. The Eagles played valiantly at 12th-ranked St. John's, falling in overtime, 1-0, on the Astroturf. At 22nd-ranked Syracuse, the Eagles defeated the Orangemen, 1-0.
In its final BIG EAST game of the season, Boston College topped Georgetown, who was ranked earlier in the season, 1-0. In the season's final regular season game, the Eagles defeated Brown in their third consecutive 1-0 shutout win over the team that was ranked 25th in the previous week's NSCAA poll.
As Casey Goes
Boston College has a 6-0-1 record when sophomore forward Casey Schmidt scores a goal this year. In games where he is held scoreless, the Eagles are 2-6. He missed two games this season: the Syracuse game with an injury sustained during the St. John's game and then sat out the Brown game.
He currently leads the team with seven goals and three assists for 17 points. Last season, he was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie team with his 11 goals and two assists as he also led the Eagles in scoring. This season, he was the third-leading scorer in the BIG EAST in conference games and was a two-time BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week in 2000. He was named to the Soccer America Team of the Week for his two-goal week against UConn and Pittsburgh and was also honored as SoccerTimes.com national Player of the Week.
Three, Four, Five Cheers for Cleary
Junior midfielder Chris Cleary is in the midst of his best season at the Heights. He has chipped in five goals, including four game-winners. The four goals mark a career high for him and have doubled his previous career total. In his freshman season, he netted two goals and added two more in his sophomore campaign. He has also added two assists this season, including a key set-up of Bobby Thompson's game-winning and homefield-clinching goal against Georgetown on Oct. 27.
Last year, he was the team's leading set-up man with six helpers. He has paired with Casey Schmidt to provide the bulk of the team's scoring chances this season. He is tied for second (with Adam Pfeifer) on the team in shots with 41 behind Schimdt and is a physical player who gives up his body for the ball.
Last season, Bobby Thompson scored only one goal and two assists in 12 games. This season, seeing actional in all 17 games so far with 14 starts, the Fsophomore has netted a career-high four goals, including one in each of the last three games. Two game-winners - against Georgetown in the regular season and against Brown - have also helped BC to a four-game win streak. He has also added two assists this season, one against Providence on Ramon Smith's goal and then against Pittsburgh, finding an open Casey Schmidt in line with a pinched-in defense. In the game against the Friars, he also netted his first goal of the season.
Freshman Adam Pfeifer leads the Eagles in assists with six this season. He has assisted on two game-winners this season and had a multiple assist game against Providence earlier in the season. A heralded recruit who was an All-American and the Gatorade Massachusetts Player of the Year at Newton North High School last year, he has been instrumental in adding to the Eagle attack this season. He has added spunk and speed to the attack for the Eagles this season and is tied for second on the team in shots with 41.
Gentleman Between the Pipes
Senior Chris Hamblin has turned in his best-ever season at the Heights. A native of Bristol, England, his .76 goals against average is the lowest at Boston College since Gordon Farkouh had a .51 average in 1982 in 23 games. Over the course of the season, he has lowered his GAA from 1.72 after the Boston University game to its current level of .76.
Concluding the regular BIG EAST season, Hamblin ranked third in the BIG EAST in the goalkeeping statistics with both his overall and league GAA. He posted a .44 GAA in league contests, while amassing a career high seven shutouts - all in BIG EAST play. His .44 average in 11 BIG EAST games bested the BIG EAST record of .46 held by Jon Urbom of St. John's, set in 1993 in eight games. However, Bryheem Hancock of UConn (.43 GAA) and Jeffrey Stoklosa of St. John's (.29) also broke the record this season.
Last season, Hamblin posted a 1.22 GAA overall and a 1.66 GAA in league games. His career average rests at 1.06 with 23 shutouts, which he lowered from 1.16 over the season.
Four first-year players have seen regular time in the lineup this season for Ed Kelly. Kirt Dorsett and Adam Pfeifer have started almost every game for the Eagles this year, with 16 and 13 starts under their belts, respectively. Pfeifer leads the team in assists with six, while Dorsett has proven to be a key player at center midfield, both offensively and defensively. Ramon Smith has been called on four times to start and has provided a key spark off the bench with threatening offensive rushes at forward. Defender Kenny Adams has started all 17 games he has played in and earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors at the beginning of September for his play in the Notre Dame game.
Boyd Moved to Backfield
Prior to the start of the 2000 season, senior Kevin Boyd was moved from his normal forward/midfield position to the backfield when the need for experienced leadership was evidenced. Boyd led the team in scoring in his freshman season with five goals and one assist, then tied for the team lead in scoring in his sophomore year with eight points (three goals and two assists).
To stay true to his offensive upbringing, head coach Ed Kelly keeps Boyd involved in corners - both in front of the net and sending in passes from the corner. This season, Boyd has posted one assist - on Casey Schimdt's goal against Notre Dame on Sept. 11.
Difference in Defense
Last season, Boston College gave up 1.30 goals a game and allowed an average of 12 shots a game. This season, while allowing more shots per game, the team defense has substantially tightened allowing just .73 goals a game and posting eight shutouts.
Senior keeper Chris Hamblin has combined with the backfield to post seven shutouts in BIG EAST games, a league high, and the team posted an additional shutout over Brown when Hamblin combined with Tim O'Halloran and Danny Caruso to shutout the Bears.
The Eagles lost two of their defenders to graduation last year - playing only three backs - but they brought in three new starting defenders (Martin Cantillo, Kevin Boyd and Kenny Adams) who have all proved more than up to the task of keeping the opponent out of the backfield. Co-captain Paul Bourke is the only returnee from 1999.
Penalty Kick- A True Definition
Boston College has seen four penalty kicks this season - three for the opponents and one for themselves. In the second game of the season on Sept. 3, Boston University was awarded two penalty kicks in the game's final seven minutes and tied the game at 3-3 after making both to send the game into overtime. Against Rutgers on Sept. 22, the game was scoreless in overtime when Rutgers was awarded a penalty kick. The successful attempt gave the Scarlet Knights the win, 1-0, in the 92nd minute.
The Eagles' only penalty kick of their own this season came at Dartmouth when senior Sjur Gundersen's attempt was good. However, the Eagles were down 2-0 at the time and only managed a 2-1 final score. The score marked Gundersen's first career goal at Boston College.
Back for More
Though listed on Boston College's roster as seniors, defenders Martin Cantillo and Paul Bourke will both have the opportunity to return for the 2001 season. Cantillo redshirted the 1999 season and still has a year of eligibility remaining, while Bourke played only four games during the 1998 season due to injury and preserved a year of eligibility with a medical redshirt.
Six different countries are represented on the Boston College roster: the United States, England, Ireland, Norway, Jamaica and Trinidad. The team boasts four players from Norway: Sjur Gundersen, Jorgen Lie, Eyvind Aasen and Espen Skaug. Starting keeper Chris Hamblin is from Bristol, England. Co-Captain Paul Bourke hails from Cork, Ireland. Chris Powell and Ramon Smith both were born in Jamaica. Kirt Dorsett originates from Trinidad. In addition, Martin Cantillo's family emigrated to the United States from Latin America when he was a child.
New Pitch to Play On
The 1999 season marked a new era for the Boston College soccer program with the opening of the Newton Campus Soccer Field. The new playing surface, which won the Soccer Managers' Association College Soccer Field of the Year Award in 1999, was dedicated at the men's game against Army on Sept. 12, 1999.
Prior to its opening, both the men's and women's teams played their home matches at area high schools and prep schools.
The new field lets soccer be played the way soccer was meant to be played: in daylight and without loudspeaker amplification. There are no substitution horns or pre-game warm-up tapes, nor are there any speakers in regular season games.
Since the field's opening, the men's team has posted a 10-6-3 record on the pitch, including a 7-2-1 mark in 2000. The women's team has notched a 13-2 mark since the field's dedication.
If the Eagles advance to the BIG EAST Championship game, they would face either the Connecticut Huskies or the Seton Hall Pirates. This season, the Eagles took three of four points from the two teams.
SERIES RECORD: UConn leads, 24-5-3
CURRENT STREAK: The two teams tied their last meeting on Oct. 11, 2000
LAST GAME: October 11, 2000 - The teams ended in a 1-1, double-overtime deadlock. Casey Schmidt and Mansour Ndiaye scored in the first half and Chris Hamblin and Bryheem Hancock preserved the point for each team in the nets.
BC SENIORS AGAINST UCONN: 0-3-1
1997 UConn, 3-0
1998 UConn, 3-2 (OT)
1999 UConn, 2-0
2000 Tied, 1-1 (2OT)
LEADING SCORERS AGAINST UCONN:
Eyvind Aasen 1-0-2
Casey Schmidt 1-0-2
Kevin Boyd 0-1-1
Chris Cleary 0-1-1
Bobby Thompson 0-1-1
NOTES: The Eagles and Huskies have gone into overtime three times in the last six meetings, inclusing this year's game ... Under Ray Ried, UConn has only allowed BC three goals (two in 1997 and one in 2000) ... The Eagles played the 2000 game without their strongest defensive midfielder, Sjur Gundersen, who was sitting out the game with a accumulated yellow card suspension.
#5 Seton Hall
SERIES RECORD: Boston College holds the advantage in the series, 5-4-2.
CURRENT STREAK: The Eagles won the last meeting, 1-0, on Sept. 16 after the Pirates had taken two of the last four contests. The other two games in that span were ties.
LAST GAME: Septemeber 16, 2000 - Depsite being outshot 17-3, Casey Schmidt's early goal stood as the game-winner while Chris Hamblin made five saves for the win that brouhgt BC to 3-0 in the league.
BC SENIORS AGAINST SHU: 1-2-1
1997 SHU, 2-0
1998 Tied, 0-0
1999 SHU, 3-0
2000 BC, 1-0
LEADING SCORERS AGAINST SHU:
Casey Schmidt 1-0-2
Chris Cleary 0-1-1
NOTES: BC's win over the Pirates this season was the first against Ed Kelly's
old team team since 1995 when the Eagles defeated Seton Hall, 1-0, in overtime ... The last four games between the two teams have resulted in shutouts: 1997 (2-0 SHU), 1998 (0-0), 1999 (3-0 SHU), 2000 (1-0 BC) ... The two teams met in the 1990 BIG EAST Championship final with BC coming out victorious, 2-1, in overtime.