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FIELD HOCKEY: Cavaliers Shut Down Eagles' Comeback Hopes

For The Heights

Published: Monday, September 24, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

After a scorching 4-1 start to the year, the Boston College field hockey team (4-5, 0-2 ACC) has stumbled of late and dropped its fourth straight loss last Friday, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of No. 7 Virginia (8-2, 1-0 ACC). The Eagles went toe to toe with their ACC rival but could not convert on enough offensive opportunities after falling behind 3-0.

On a brisk Newton night, the Eagles entered the second half already down by one after Virginia standout Michelle Vittese corked the first half’s only goal through earlier in the game. Then, just eight minutes into the second half, the Cavaliers extended their lead to three goals. Virginia swarmed and battered around BC keeper Leah Settipane until Cavalier midfielder Hadley Bell came up with two quick goals, her first on a centering deflection and the second on a point-blank rebound.

Up three with most of the second half still remaining, Virginia packed in its forwards and midfielders in a conservative formation, daring the Eagles to execute on offense.

“I thought [our team] did a great job today,” said head coach Ainslee Lamb. “I don’t feel like they looked at the scoreboard and felt the game was done when it was 3-0, and the proof of that is the ball that they put in the net. I think the proof of that is the last 10 minutes of the game. I was actually pleased with their response today, their fight for the whole 70 minutes.”
BC continued to attack the Virginia goal without anything to show for it until the 62nd minute, when freshman midfielder Romee Stiekema buried an open shot from a corner, assisted by Paige Norris and Emma Plasteras.

Yet in the end, the comeback was not to be. After two penalties in the final minutes, the Eagles found themselves down a woman to Virginia and, more importantly, still down two goals.

Despite the lone goal, BC had plenty of chances to put the ball in the back of the net. In fact, Virginia only outshot the Eagles 12-9. Each team had four corners and converted one goal from a corner. In the 26th minute, BC thought it had found an equalizer to Virginia’s first goal when junior Chapin Duke drove down the left flank and from the edge of the box unleashed a low backhand that appeared to find its way to the net. The officials, however, disagreed, ruling that the ball bounced off a BC player’s foot into the net. The Eagles would not score till late in the second half.

“I do think we have the right kids in there to put the ball in the net,” Lamb said. “We just need to have a couple fall for us, and I think their confidence will grow a little bit.

“One of the questions for our team is what do we have to do to put the ball in the net. We certainly had some opportunities. I commend their goalie. Their goalie’s very good. But the opportunities to score, that we’re going to have, we’ve got to be more efficient with those opportunities, and it really just goes back to training it and practicing it and having that mentality to put the ball in the net.”
Virginia’s Vittese, an Olympic field hockey talent, controlled the midfield for most of the contest and even scored the Cavaliers’ first goal. The Eagles countered with their own talented midfielder, Plasteras, who leads the team with four assists, as she directed the BC attack from her central midfield position.

Now in the heart of the season, the Eagles must regroup if they want to reclaim their early-season promise.

“Adversity in the moment, in the present, is really tough, and you have to really grind through it, but in athletics when you do grind through it than the reward on the end is great,” Lamb said. “I’m confident that our kids will persevere through adversity, and I’m confident that in the end we’ll be better for it.”

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