FIELD HOCKEY: Eagles Bounced By UNC
BC's Three-Game Winning Streak Snapped At Home
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
After embarking on a successful three-game winning streak, the No. 25 Boston College (7-6, 1-3 ACC) field hockey team hosted high-powered No. 2 North Carolina (13-1, 3-0) in Newton on Saturday afternoon. The Eagles held the Tar Heels at bay for most of the game, even momentarily taking control early in the second half, but North Carolina converted three successive corners to seize a 3-0 lead late in the second half, securing the Tar Heels’ 11th straight victory and halting BC’s encouraging three-game streak in what resulted in a 4-0 defeat.
With three corners and three whips of her stick in the last 17 minutes of the game, Tar Heel forward Charlotte Craddock capitalized on the chances BC had been coolly thwarting for 53 minutes.
“We need to make plays earlier and get fouls outside of the circle instead of giving [North Carolina] those opportunities to line us up,” said head coach Ainslee Lamb. “[Craddock] is probably one of the best players in the country right now.”
BC gave North Carolina seven total corners, four in the first half, but it was the final three in the second half that ignited the Tar Heels. Running the same play each time, North Carolina fed Craddock inside of the circle, as she cracked a low screamer into the bottom corner each time.
“That’s an impressive straight shot,” Lamb said. “I think it’s pretty difficult to run a defense that can protect you against a straight shot like that. Where she’s hitting to we actually have a goalie and another player. So we’ve really done what we can structurally do to defend against it, what we have to do is when [the opponent] has a corner [package] like that, you cannot give up defensive penalty corners.”
The Eagles had their fair share of corners as well, all six coming in succession. The North Carolina defense stood strong though, and BC failed to punch in its opportunities to grab the lead early in the second half. BC also had two apparent goals called back
“On the attack, we have to have the mentality to finish those opportunities,” Lamb said. “I thought we had two that finished today, unfortunately they just didn’t happen, but we have to execute on our attack corners.”
Aside from three corners and a cross resulting in a goal in the final minute of the game, BC held the ACC’s top offense in check. North Carolina had outscored its opponents 65-14 in 13 games. The Eagles played hard-nosed, composed defense on the back end, and freshman keeper Leah Settipane continued to impress behind the pipes with eight saves. Settipane came into the contest ranked 24th in the nation with a 1.64 goals against average, ranked first in ACC in saves (54), save percentage (73 percent), and shutouts (3).
“I think defensively, Sarah Hospodar and Kara Mackintire played out of their minds today,” Lamb said. “They’re stepping out. Their intercepts really limited [North Carolina’s] opportunities inside the circle. [North Carolina] still had 22 shots so we have to minimize that a little more.”
Despite the score, the Eagles still went pace for pace with arguably the top team in the nation.
“Overall, I think if we could take out 20 minutes of that game, then it would have been a really good game,” Lamb said. “The reality is we had a bit of a falter in those last 20 minutes, and when you’re playing No. 2 in the country, they can take advantage of that.”
In order to claim their first home win of the year, the Eagles now must look ahead to the last three games of their four game home stand.
Although field hockey may not classically be referred to as the “game of inches”, inches have been the deciding factor in most BC’s losses.
“Another inch and it’s a different game,” Lamb said, “but that’s the inch that we have to make sure happens [for us].”