WOMEN'S SOCCER: Eagles Move On In Tourney
Published: Monday, November 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
The November Madness of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament has begun.
The No. 8 seed Boston College squared off against the No. 9 seed Hofstra this past Friday in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Newton. Despite a heroic effort from Hofstra goalkeeper Emily Morphitis, the Eagles, sparked by a four-point performance from Kristie Mewis, notched a 2-0 victory to advance to the second round.
After BC earned the lion’s share of scoring chances in the first half, including its first goal, Hofstra began to threaten with through balls behind the Eagle defense. There were some tense moments for BC as the clock continued to tick to the dismay of Hofstra. Most of those moments came during Hofstra’s four corner kicks in the second half, but goalkeeper Alexa Gaul handled them all, along with three saves in the second half. Head coach Alison Foley saw her team prepared to defend those opportunities.
“This is as confident as our team has ever been on defending set pieces and corners,” Foley said.
Hofstra’s late push was all for naught in the end. Already up 1-0, the Eagles led a counter attack in the 80th minute. Midfielder Gibby Wagner pushed the ball down the sideline and crossed it toward the net. A Hofstra defender tried to head the ball out of danger, but sent it right to the foot of Mewis in the corner of the box. The senior made a touch to her left toward the goal and fired a shot through the keeper to put the game out of reach at 2-0. It was Mewis’s team-leading 14th goal of the year
“If you look at our season, in critical moments of the games, when games have been tight, it’s been Kristen Mewis who’s answered the call, and the top players in the country know how to take care of business and [that] one just sealed off the game,” Foley said.
The game was only in reach, though, because of Morphitis’s seven saves. Whether BC shot from long range, just outside the box, or at point blank, Morphitis made all but two plays.
The Eagles struck first in the 12th minute, as Mewis won the ball in the midfield and pushed into Hofstra territory. The rest was history after that.
“There was some open space in front of [Stephanie McCaffrey], who’s pretty much the fastest girl on our team, because the back line was sitting up a bit,” Mewis said. “I just clipped her a little ball over the top, and she ran onto it and chipped it right over the goalie.”
Morphitis would shut the door for the next 68 minutes.
“I was very disappointed in myself after the first goal, but I just tried to deal with the mistake, get it out of my system, and concentrate on the next 30 minutes of the game where I thought I did a better job at reading the balls through,” Morphitis said.
BC had not tasted victory since an Oct. 18th upset over then No. 1 Florida State. In a do or die NCAA game, both home field and an early lead may have made all the difference in the team’s first win in three weeks.
“We talked about it before the game,” Foley said. “We said it’d be good to get ahead in the first 15 minutes of the game. When you do that, it allows you to play your style.”
“We had a little bit of a rough end of the year, and I think it was really important for the seniors and the rest of the team to get one more game here at home,” Mewis said. “It was really special for us, and I think we played how we should have.”
The Eagles now have a second-round matchup with No. 1 Penn State on Friday night in Happy Valley, after the Nittany Lions defeated LIU-Brooklyn 4-0.