The Boston College women’s soccer team topped North Carolina State’s squad 1-0 at Harvard’s Soldiers Memorial Field this Sunday, with the decisive goal coming in overtime, during the 96th minute.
The victory was the team’s second consecutive win over an ACC opponent, improving the squad’s record to 3-4 against conference competition. Meanwhile, the loss was NC State’s third over the course of an unfruitful three-game road trip—as well as the squad’s seventh straight defeat overall.
In spite of the Wolfpack’s recent struggles, the visiting team made the contest an especially hard-fought affair. Over the course of the game, the Wolfpack had some close chances—including a one-touch shot from freshman forward Kayla Saager, the squad’s leading scorer, in the 26th minute—and played impeccable defense. Among the team’s standout defensive performers was sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Stelljes, who made 13 total saves.
But the Eagles met the Wolfpack’s sporadic drives and substantial defense with an overwhelming and sustained offensive attack. With their consistent presence on the opposite side of the field, the BC players would collect 26 total shots by the end of regulation time.
The first of its 26 efforts came within the match’s opening minute, as junior midfielder Jana Jeffrey notched a shot on goal approximately 25 seconds into the game. The scoring opportunity, which was quickly snuffed out by Stelljes, would not be Jeffrey’s last. By the contest’s end, the midfielder had 12 total shots, five of which were on goal, and repeatedly threatened to break the stalemate between the two teams.
Jeffrey’s regulation-time scoring opportunities, though numerous, were supplemented by even more from her teammates. During the game’s first 90 minutes, midfielders Lauren Bernard and Rose DiMartino combined for four shots and five corner kicks. And, through the two halves, junior forward Hayley Dowd, the team’s and conference’s leading scorer, and senior forward Stephanie McCaffrey collectively had eight shots. But the chances did not lead to goals—at least not immediately.
Weathered by the consistency and strength of the BC attack, Stelljes and NC State would allow the first goal of the game merely four minutes into overtime. The scoring opportunity—and deciding goal—was prepared when an NC State defender fouled Dowd just outside of the box. Taking the free kick awarded, Bernard quickly sent a cross hurtling toward the net. Dowd was the first to reach it, leaping in the air to head the ball over an overmatched Stelljes and into the near post. The goal would be the ACC-leading scorer’s 12th of the season and her fourth in the past three games—and, beyond that, a good omen for the recently resurgent Eagles.
Featured Image by Emily Fahey / Heights Editor