Duke women’s soccer’s Kayla McCoy was on a breakaway. As she approached the goal, Boston College’s goalkeeper Alexis Bryant rushed out to meet her. The two players collided. The referee blew his whistle, and Bryant was shown a red card and ejected from the game.
Backup goalkeeper Erin Seppi stepped in to face McCoy’s penalty kick, but the odds were against the rookie. Seppi dove in the correct direction, but just wasn’t able to block the ball. McCoy put the ball past Seppi to give Duke (6-2-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) the 1-0 lead. It was just 10 minutes into the game. And BC (8-1-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast), limited to 10 players, faced an uphill battle trying to recover from the deficit.
The Eagles refused to give up, eventually holding a lead in the game. It was not enough to make up for the early mistake, however, as the Blue Devils fought hard, ultimately earning a 3-2 victory on Saturday night. It was BC’s first loss of the season.
It didn’t take long for BC to answer Duke’s first goal. In the 24th minute, Duke defender Schuyler DeBree fouled freshman Jenna Bike in the box. Although no card was given, the Eagles were still awarded a penalty kick. Redshirt senior McKenzie Meehan elected to take the penalty kick, putting it past Blue Devil goalkeeper E.J. Proctor to tie the score at one apiece. It was Meehan’s eighth goal of the season.
This would be the only scoring of the first half, although both teams had more opportunities. Duke recorded six shots in the first half, although it was unable to target its shots on goal. The Eagles also had six shots, including two on frame. The only corner kick of the half belonged to BC, but nothing came of it.
The Eagles came into the second half ready to roll. Seppi saved a shot from Duke forward Imani Dorsey in the 46th minute. Two minutes later, Hayley Dowd gave BC a 2-1 lead. She stole the ball at midfield and took off for the goal, dodging Duke defenders along the way. With Blue Devils approaching from behind, she ripped a shot to the near post. Proctor dove, but wasn’t able to deflect it. Improbably, BC had come back (at least temporarily) while playing down one man, and led Duke 2-1. The goal was Dowd’s fifth of the season.
The lead would last for less than 10 minutes. In the 56th minute, BC found itself defending in its own box as Duke pressed forward. Dorsey received the ball in the center of the box and sent it wide to freshman Ella Stevens. Stevens ripped a ball across the box to the waiting foot of Taylor Racioppi. Racioppi sent the ball past Seppi, netting her third goal of the year and evening the score at two apiece.
McCoy had another opportunity in the 69th minute, but BC’s defense made excellent plays to prevent the Duke forward from scoring. Seppi deflected the ball, but it continued to roll toward the goal line. The defense managed to clear it away from the line at the last second, preserving the tie.
The Eagles couldn’t delay the inevitable, however. Duke’s Rebecca Quinn held the ball at the top of the box and slotted a pass to McCoy, who ripped a shot from 10 yards out that Seppi was unable to save. After scoring an early goal and then falling behind, Duke managed to come from behind for the 3-2 win.
It was a tough night for the Eagles. Playing down for most of the game and surrendering a 2-1 lead wasn’t the ideal way to open up ACC play. Moving forward, the Eagles will have to make up for the disappointing Duke loss and establish more momentum as they go deeper into the season.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor