It was supposed to be the meeting of two opposites—the unstoppable force and the immoveable object. Boston College’s high-flying offense, fresh off of scoring 17 goals in a lopsided victory over Bryant, faced off against Loyola’s impenetrable defense, which allowed just four goals in a victory against UMass. But as Michael Scott would say, “Oh how the turntables….”
And how the tables turned. The Greyhounds’ defense came as advertised, limiting the Eagles to just eight goals on 23 total shots, but the true immoveable object on the day was BC freshman goalie Zoe Ochoa. In her third career start, Ochoa led BC to its second-ever NCAA Tournament victory. Ochoa made four saves and allowed three goals to the Greyhounds, as BC won a low-scoring, high-intensity match 8-3 to move on to the Elite Eight.
“I’m thankful for having such a great team supporting me, they’ve really helped me the whole past week really not feel anxious or anything,” Ochoa said after the game.
It certainly showed on the field, where Ochoa helped the Eagles take charge of the game early on and never let it slip away.
“I think she just provided a little spark for us, and she did a great job today,” said BC head coach Acacia Walker, who made the initial switch to Ochoa late in BC’s first round ACC Tournament game. “When we recruited her, there was so much about her attitude that we loved, that helped us with the decision a few games ago.”
It wasn’t just Ochoa that helped limit Loyola to three goals on the day. Walker had been unhappy with her defense’s performance on Friday, but she was singing a different tune on Sunday.
“They definitely stepped up,” Walker said. “I think the energy started with Zoe, and the girls followed their gameplan.”
Offensively, it was a slow day for the Eagles. Loyola was content—to borrow a soccer term—to park the bus. The Greyhounds denied drive after drive from BC, and whenever an attacker was able to get through, goalie Molly Wolf was there to swallow up the shot. Wolf made nine saves on the day, doing everything she could to keep the Greyhounds close. Most of the game was spent in Loyola’s defensive end, with the Eagles keeping possession and continuously probing. The Greyhounds stood strong defensively, but eventually the Eagles were able to find soft spots and exploit them. BC didn’t get many offensive chances, but it converted on the ones it did find.
Covie Stanwick followed up her eight-point performance on Friday with another hat trick and an assist. Sarah Mannelly contributed her own hat trick, and Mikaela Rix and Kate Rich each added a goal of their own.
As BC advances in the NCAA Tournament, the team moves away from the friendly confines of the Newton Lacrosse Complex, and will need more complete efforts like Sunday’s. Asked what comes next for her team, coach Walker replied with a smile, “Back to practice tomorrow. Lots of ice baths today.”