Three Headers Propel Women’s Soccer Past Boston University

Dorrie Varley-Barrett receives the cross-field pass. Looking down, she dribbles five feet downfield. She glances up. Five maroon jerseys swarm around her, pressuring the ball. Within moments, the maroon jerseys dive in, ready to attack. Varley-Barrett tries to pull back and fake left, but there is nothing she can do. She’s stripped of the ball immediately and the maroon jerseys disperse. Varley-Barrett attempts to tackle the ball and gain back her possession, but she is no match for the mighty McKenzie Meehan. After taking the ball toward goal, Meehan softly drops the ball downfield to her teammate, who crosses it in front of the goal. Thirty feet from the post, Lauren Berman directs the ball toward the net with a header. The ball arches over all the defenders and flies just past the goaltender’s reach, giving the maroon jerseys reason to celebrate at midfield.

Boston College women’s soccer (3-0-1) traveled down the B Line Sunday night to face its foe, the Boston University Terriers (0-4). Both teams vied to be the champion of the Battle of Comm. Ave. While both teams fought for 90 minutes, the Eagles successfully silenced the reigning Patriot League champs for the second year in a row, 3-0.

Out of the gate, nerves were high, causing both teams to struggle to maintain control. Constantly fighting for 50-50 balls, each side played Ping-Pong at center field. After both teams settled into the game, BC used its strength to control the momentum. By putting their strength in the midfield, the Eagles prevented the Terriers from connecting passes.

Fourteen minutes into the game, the Eagles swiped the ball away from the Terriers. Meehan collected the ball and carried it down the field, faking out a BU defender along the way. As she neared the box, she slid the ball over to Jade Ruiters, who one-timed it. The ball swung over the box, allowing Lauren Berman to loft a header into the back of the net, just past Hannah Cioleck’s fingertips. The Eagles gathered to celebrate mid-field while Cioleck laid inside the net with her hands and feet in the air, clearly disappointed.

The Eagles did not let up. They continued to pressure the Terriers downfield and challenge Cioleck in the net. BU tried to string passes together, but no matter what, a maroon jersey was there. The Eagles’ offense was successful as well and pushed forward, causing BU’s defense to sag and shrink into Cioleck’s space.

With 17 minutes remaining in the half, BC received a free kick. Samantha Hiatt chipped the ball toward the back post, where Meehan was lurking. The redshirt senior got a header on it and scored to give BC a 2-0 lead.

The Eagles continued to keep a tight barrier near the midfield line. Only on occasion did they pass the ball to the backs in order to avoid a BU rush down the field. By keeping the backfield clear, the defense allowed goalkeeper Alexis Bryant to have a simple first half and gave the team a 2-0 lead going into halftime.

Coming back onto the pitch, the Eagles continued to pressure the Terriers while controlling the tempo of the match. Fifteen minutes into the second half, BC created a scoring opportunity starting on the opposite end of the field. Bryant dished the ball off to Allyson Swaby, who traded passes with Madison Kenny as they headed upfield. After the Terriers stripped BC of the ball, Meehan came to the rescue and regained possession. Charging toward the net, Meehan crossed the ball toward the left post. Jenna Bike used her head to try to sneak one past Cioleck, but hit the post. But the Eagles were determined to score. With a defender on her heels, Kayla Jennings headed the rebound into the net to send the Eagles soaring to a 3-0 lead.

In the remaining 30 minutes, the Terriers struggled to get shots on goal. While Cioleck had to turn away more than 20 shots during the game, Bryant faced just four. BC’s defense successfully ran out the clock By using only their heads to score, the Eagles proved three heads are better than none.

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor

August 28, 2016