In Home Opener, Women’s Soccer Ties With Arizona State

Boston College women’s soccer spent a little more time than usual on the Newton Campus field Sunday for its first game at home—and not just because the team signed autographs for visiting campers after the game. All told, the Eagles’ (1-0-1) faceoff against Arizona State University (1-0-1) lasted 110 minutes, ending in a ho-hum 1-1 tie.

The two teams got off to an evenly-matched start, with neither getting a shot on goal until five minutes in. Corner kicks for both teams offered a reprieve from the back-and-forth, but all were lost among the sea of players mobbing the goals.

With time in the first half winding down, ASU had a burst of energy that drove the score to 1-0. Devyn Kelsey tried her hand at a goal, but Bryant blocked her shot, punching the ball back into play. In the chaos, Jazmarie Mader found the ball and headed it in, a disoriented Bryant unable to recover.

Now down one, the Eagles fought hard for the ball and made drives toward ASU’s goal. Off a pass from the right side of the field, Amber Stearns attempted to head the ball in, but the timing was off and the goal went unclaimed. In another attempt, freshman star Jenna Bike streaked down the field and crossed it, but the pass did not connect. BC went into halftime without a goal to answer for Arizona State’s.

“We should’ve put more chances in in the first half, but we let them score on us, so it was not good,” redshirt junior Lauren Berman said.

The Sun Devils’ Megan Delaney proved a force to be reckoned with in her debut, seemingly attracting the ball straight to her whenever BC attempted a shot. She caught the ball cleanly nearly every time, leaving little chance for a goal off a messy play. Delaney, who is new to the team after transferring from Texas A&M Corpus Christi, saved 10 shots.

After an hour of play, BC finally got the revenge it was looking for. Once a defender sent the ball up the field, Gaby Carreiro crossed it in front of the goal, and Berman kicked it in while sliding past.

The goal lit a fire under the Eagles, taking every chance they got to put another one in the back of the net minutes later. When the ball was close to going out of bounds, Hayley Dowd kicked it toward the goal, but still couldn’t keep it alive.

Though the equalizing play came from BC’s returners, Bike turned in an impressive performance. Her biggest asset is her speed, evading midfielders and defenders on her way to the goal. When multiple Sun Devils surrounded her, however, Bike struggled with maneuvering out of sticky situations.

“I think [the freshmen] have been our best players in preseason,” head coach Alison Foley said. “They’ve been our best players in the first two games. They’re certainly playing like upperclassmen for sure.”

With the scored tied at 1-1, both teams launched fiery campaigns to put a goal over on the other. The Eagles and Sun Devils traded shots but rarely got close enough to the goal to become a threat. First overtime gave way to second overtime, and BC and Arizona State got ugly with their aggression. Shoving and pulling on jerseys caused discord among the benches, leading to shouts from coaches about fouls left uncalled.

Amber Stearns made the most convincing play for a BC win with less than a minute left in double overtime. After evading defenders and positioning herself close enough to the goal, she shot hard, sending the ball caroming off the crossbar. The shot garnered hopeful cheers from the crowd but fell short of the victory BC had hoped for.

Even so, BC kept busy after the game, lining up in front of the stands to write autographs for children who attended.

Coming off a season-opening win against Providence, the tie proved disappointing to Foley and Co.

“There were some clear chances that we had—including the one in overtime—that we really have to be able to put away,” Foley said. “I thought it was a pretty sluggish game, to be honest.

Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Senior Staff

August 22, 2016