Women’s Soccer Drops Tough Game to Virginia Tech in Double Overtime

The last time Boston College women’s soccer played Virginia Tech, a Hokies penalty kick in the second minute of the match, proved to be the game-winning goal. Three years later, this rematch would not be decided until the final seconds of double overtime.

Coming off an upset victory over No. 2 Florida State, BC entered Sunday’s Alumni Day match with a chance to pick up its second-consecutive conference victory in its third and final game of its homestand. On the contrary, Virginia Tech had just won its first conference match at Syracuse earlier in the week, and was wrapping up its two-game road stint. But, in the end, it was the Hokies who were able to leave Newton Campus Soccer and Lacrosse Field with another ACC victory, 3-2.

A steady downpour hindered both sides’ possession and ball control. But for BC (10-4-1, 2-4 Atlantic Coast), a team that builds its attack through the midfield and feeds wing players out wide, the effect of the conditions was especially evident. The Hokies (10-4-1, 2-3-1), a more direct, downfield-playing team, turned early BC mistakes into scoring opportunities. In the seventh minute, Virginia Tech’s Kristina Diana led an open Laila Gray into the box, but BC’s goalkeeper, Alexis Bryant, slid to prevent a Gray shot. Just three minutes later, Marie Johnston’s corner kick offered another chance for the Hokies, but the score did not budge.

Eventually, Virginia Tech’s superior possession and set pieces led to the game’s first goal. Lily Weber found Alani Johnson on the right side of the box, and Johnson floated a shot into the upper left corner of the net in the 28th minute. It was Weber’s fifth assist, and Johnson’s sixth goal on the season.

While BC had a few runs in the first half, it couldn’t even the match. Whether it was Jenna Bike’s awkward positioning (36th minute) or a misfire from Olivia Vaughn (37th minute), the Eagles failed to show anything that resembled their performance against FSU.

But everything changed in the 62nd minute. In the span of 22 seconds, BC scored two goals, both off of penalty kicks from identical Vaughn and Bike runs on the right side of the field. First, it was McKenzie Meehan who took the shot for Vaughn’s foul. Scoring her team-leading 10th goal of the season, she grounded one into the bottom left corner of the net. Next, Samantha Hiatt lined up to take the penalty kick for the foul on Bike. Hiatt launched the shot into the midsection of the left side of the goal, giving BC the lead. It was the freshman defender’s first goal of the year.

The Eagles tested freshman goalie Mandy McGlynn several more times, but they could not put Virginia Tech away. The Hokies kept nagging at the BC defense, and, in the 81st minute, a Johnston corner allowed Murielle Tiernan to head the ball near post, forcing overtime.

In the first overtime period, Meehan had an opportunity to close the match. Running down the heart of the field in the 95th minute, Bike danced by defenders, ultimately shooting into the Hokies’ backline. Meehan located the blocked shot and fired away, but her attempt was also deflected. One minute later, the senior co-captain was kicked in the face by a Virginia Tech defender as she was cutting inside on a free kick. This sidelined Meehan for the remainder of the game, requiring the Eagles to play the final minutes without their most lethal weapon.

As the 100th minute surpassed, the game carried over into double overtime. Midway through the final period, Bike, dribbling down the right side of the field, had a one-on-one with McGlynn, but her shot toward the right post was denied. But in the final minute of the match, Virginia Tech led a counterattack, following a BC free kick. It all came down to one matchup—Bryant versus Tiernan. Bryant came out to pressure the senior forward, who had a fellow Hokie at her left side. Tiernan adjusted, and lofted the game-winning shot into the left corner of the net.

The win further confirms Virginia Tech’s scoring pattern—when the Hokies have scored at least two goals this season, they have never lost. And now, Virginia Tech has put itself back into the mix of the ACC.

For BC and head coach Alison Foley, the team will have to regroup for its three-game road trip, starting next Saturday at Wake Forest. Foley sees this defeat as a source of motivation.

“Every game is a big game,” Foley said. “We know that. It’s going to leave us hungry to get the next one. It’s going to leave us a little bit annoyed, but hungry for the next one.”

Still, even though the result, as in 2013, was a loss, the way it came about is a bit harder to take.

“Anytime you lose a game in overtime it’s tough, but under a minute makes it even tougher,” Foley said.

Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff

October 10, 2016