WOMEN'S SOCCER: Eagles Drop Huskies 2-0
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
On a perfect evening for soccer, the No. 6 Boston College women’s soccer team remained undefeated and improved to 5-0-1 by grinding out a 2-0 win against Northeastern under the lights at the Newton Sports Complex last night. Jetlagged after an extended road trip, the Eagles returned home and displayed patience and composure against a Northeastern squad that spent a large part of the 90 minutes defending for its life.
BC came out firing on all cylinders in a flexible 4-4-1-1, terrorizing the Huskies from the turf and sky alike. Working the ball through talisman playmaker Kristie Mewis, BC was unlucky not to score after splitting the sluggish Northeastern defense with a number of well-crafted through balls. Shaky defense was made up for by superb goalkeeping, and a number of quality saves prevented BC’s red-hot striker Stephanie McCaffrey from adding to her goal tally. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the Husky defense managed to find its feet in time to escape the terror of BC’s early rampage.
Much to the frustration of BC’s ravenous attack, the overmatched Huskies adopted a new strategy of clogging the midfield, stifling the Eagles’ ground game. Northeastern parked the bus in its defensive third, keeping a minimum of eight players behind the ball at nearly all times. BC showed its depth and tactical awareness in reaction, spreading the field and unleashing its rampaging wingers on the compact Northeastern back four. The sight of right wing Gibby Wagner and left wing Victoria DiMartino beating their defenders and marauding down their respective wings seemed to be on a never-ending loop, yet dangerous crosses were frantically defused again and again by spirited defending.
When the whistle blew for halftime, the Northeastern bench cheered with greater joy than a 6-year-old on Christmas morning—its excitement for escaping the first 45 minutes with a tie was clearly evident. The relief of surviving the 12-shot barrage of the first half was short-lived, since as soon as the second began, the siege was back underway.
BC remained in total control, tormenting the Northeastern defense, but was unable to strike gold. As frustration and tempers rose on both sides and the Huskies remained determined to celebrate every corner like a major feat, the prospect of a scoreless draw seemed dangerously realistic.
But BC remained steadfast, poking holes in the Northeastern defense and looking to spread the field again and again. Finally, in the 76th minute, the dam burst. Mewis connected off of a picture-perfect cross from Wagner, heading the ball home into the right upper 90, giving BC the game winner.
Forced to make a desperate bid to equalize, the Northeastern defense opened up, providing an all-you-can eat buffet for the BC offense. In the 83rd minute, Stephanie McCaffrey wrong-footed her defender with a dazzling cut to the outside and smashed a cross in to McKenzie Meehan, who buried the ball into the net with clinical technique. With that, the nail was in the coffin, and the Eagles ran down the clock and possessed the ball.
BC played with patience, technique, and grit, all themes echoed by their coach, Alison Foley. At halftime, Foley spoke to her team, and her advice was simply to “keep our focus, don’t get frustrated, stick to our game plan, and it might be only one goal that we score or two, but we need to make sure that we don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t come early.”
This advice proved paramount, as BC avoided the often seen trap of pushing too many players forward and falling to counterattacks, and displayed the composure and chemistry of a veteran team on a mission.