An Historic Season Comes to an End for Kelly's Men

An Historic Season Comes to an End for Kelly's Men

Soccer team rides its best year ever all the way to the NCAA quarterfinals

By Reid Oslin
Staff Writer

Boston College Men's Head Soccer Coach Ed Kelly, who led the Eagles to their most successful season in the sport's 35-year history at the school, was anything but downtrodden when his team lost to Creighton 6-2 in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championship Tournament last Sunday.

"It was our stop to get off the bus," remarked Kelly in his lilting Dublin brogue.

Men's Head Soccer Coach Ed Kelly
"Obviously, when you are in sports you think you can accomplish anything, reach any goal. But if you had told me before the start of our season that we would win the Big East championship, qualify for the NCAA Tournament and get the fifth seed in the country, I think I would have chuckled a little bit."

Kelly's team won two games in the NCAA competition, the first-ever victories by a Boston College soccer squad in the national post-season tournament. The Eagles scored a 2-1 decision over Northeastern in a first round game on Nov. 27, followed on Dec. 1 by a 2-1 penalty kick victory over Southern Methodist after the teams had battled to a 4-4 tie in regulation time.

All three of BC's tournament games were played on the artificial surface at Northeastern University's Parsons Field after BC's Newton Campus pitch was buried by an early winter snowfall. More than 1,500 fans turned out for the Creighton contest.

"Playing at home was a great advantage," said Kelly. "Not only for the fact that we didn't have to travel around the country, but also because it brought NCAA soccer to our own fans and students. It's all been huge for our program."

Kelly termed BC's thrilling victory over Southern Methodist "one of the best college games I have ever seen.

"But sometimes, your tank can be on 'empty' after scoring such a great victory," he said.

The Eagles finished with an 18-5 record on the season, the most victories ever for a BC squad. The team had won a school record nine consecutive games before Sunday's loss to the 2000 NCAA champion Bluejays.

Several individual players also had blue-ribbon seasons for BC this fall, including forward Casey Schmidt '03, who tied the school single-season scoring record with 28 points. Schmidt set BC's career record with 35 goals scored and finished his career with 82 points, one fewer than former All-America Paul Keegan (1992-95).

Senior midfielder Bobby Thompson was selected as the outstanding player in this year's Big East Tournament. "Bobby had a lot more to do with our success than people will ever see on a statistics sheet," said Kelly, noting that the Framingham native has inspired several other top Massachusetts players to attend Boston College. "We now have nine Massachusetts players on the team. He has been a big help in getting many of them to come."

Sophomore back Guy Melamed joined Schmidt on the All-Big East first team and Kyle Singer, a graduate student in the Lynch School of Education, was selected as the conference's goalkeeper of the year.


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