Sometimes—no matter how hard you try—it feels like you just can’t win. That was exactly the feeling for Boston College field hockey Friday night as the first half was coming to a close in its game against New Hampshire. The Eagles had held offensive possession for much of the first half, but as the clock wound down toward halftime the Eagles sat at a 1-0 deficit. There was still a glimmer of hope as BC had been awarded a penalty corner with just seconds left to spare. The players from both teams readied themselves for what they knew could be an impactful play, as the audience was held quiet with anticipation. With tension mounting, Frederique Haverhals wound up and delivered a perfectly placed pass to Brooke Matherson who took the ball in for the game-tying point in what ultimately became a 2-1 victory.
The pressure of the situation was not uncommon for BC (6-6, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) who held offensive momentum throughout but only capitalized on a few key plays.
The first half proved challenging for the Eagles as they tended toward offensive formations that left few defenders back in case of a challenge from New Hampshire (3-10, 1-3 America East). This scheming put a lot of pressure on the Wildcats defense, but it proved dangerous.
Any breakaways New Hampshire forced were met with only the few BC players able to get back into position in time to provide any defensive resistance. The Wildcats’ first goal 11 minutes into the game was the result of one of these miscalculated breakaways. It was not the until the final seconds of the half that the constant pressuring of the BC offense paid off via a Matherson score off of an assist from Haverhals.
Despite the inequality of possession, there was great parity between the teams over the course of the first half, as BC only outshot New Hampshire by one while the Wildcats recorded one more penalty corner than BC.
The Eagles proved to be a lot more effective in the second half as they scaled back their offensive aggression in exchange for sturdier defensive protection. This was quickly reflected in the score as 10 minutes into the second half Eryn McCoy scored via a beautiful shot from the top of the box. Under the new scheming system BC had considerably less time of possession, but the Eagles still recorded 10 shots to New Hampshire’s one.
This game served to highlight the skill of Emily and Eryn McCoy, who each recorded six shots on goal, and in the process the sisterly duo shot a majority of BC’s shots in the game. Eryn McCoy’s breakaway goal in the second half to put BC ahead for the win proved decisive. The smooth manner in which she maneuvered the ball around the Wildcat defenders revealed a keen understand of spacial awareness and ball handling. Matherson continued her streak of brilliance as she recorded another goal in this game after a score in the previous match against Indiana so that she now totals three goals on the season.
“When we want to compete and we do so with our team game, we are really good,” head coach Kelly Doton recently told BCEagles.com. “At the same time, we’re doing it in the hardest field hockey conference in the nation and against regional opponents that will bring their A game against us every time.”
BC competed once it got back to its true identity in the second half. As the Eagles move on to No. 14 Boston University next week, they will need to remain steadfast in who they are as a team. This will not be easy against a tough local opponent such as BU, but it is nonetheless necessary if the Eagles wish to continue their three-game win streak.
Featured Image by Lizzy Barrett / Heights Staff