A month and a half ago, Boston College women’s soccer was unbeaten. As conference play commenced and the back end of the season approached, Senior Day was marked as a night that would be one to remember—an ACC match with playoff implications and the final home game for BC’s all-time leading scorer, McKenzie Meehan.
Neither would prove to be true.
The game had no effect on postseason seeding, as both Syracuse and BC were mathematically eliminated from contention prior to Thursday night’s match. And Meehan, currently at the top of the conference’s scoring leaderboard with 12 goals, was sidelined with a leg injury from Sunday’s loss to Virginia. Yet both teams played as if there was a playoff bid on the line. While the downpour might have been detrimental, the game was certainly unforgettable.
BC entered the game on a four-game losing streak, which dated back to its upset win over then-No. 2 Florida State on Oct. 6. Having lost all three games in a row on the road, the Eagles were looking to end the regular season the way they started. Meanwhile, the Orange was riding back-to-back losses to Wake Forest and North Carolina. Contrary to BC’s and Syracuse’s playoff fortunes, this game wouldn’t be decided till the end. The Eagles captured their eighth and final win this fall on Newton Campus Soccer and Lacrosse Field, 2-1.
The wet conditions inhibited play throughout the game. The ball skipped across the pitch, forcing players to adjust their touch, especially when sending teammates downfield. Regardless, both teams quickly created offense. In the fourth minute, Lauren Berman passed the ball to Andrea O’Brien, who found Rosie DiMartino. The senior lofted a shot to the right side of the net, but Syracuse goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan dove, making the save. Just four minutes later, the Orange (8-8-3, 1-7-2 Atlantic Coast) was even closer to striking first blood. Following a deflection off a Syracuse ball, Eagles goalie Alexis Bryant leapt in the air to gain possession. But Bryant bobbled the ball, and Stephanie Skilton grounded a shot into the heart of BC’s now-empty goal. Inches before the ball crossed the line, Caitlyn Keenan swooped in to clear it.
The Eagles (11-7-1, 3-7) made their first move in the 17th minute. A Samantha Hiatt and Gaby Carreiro exchange ignited the scoring opportunity. Carreiro delivered a beautifully placed cross that fell at the feet of O’Brien. Only a few yards from the goal, O’Brien knocked the ball into the bottom right corner of the net. Hiatt and Carreiro were credited with the assists, their fifth and eighth respectively. It was the senior forward’s third goal of the year.
With the exception of a few small scoring opportunities, like Hayley Dowd’s free kick that caught the top right corner of the crossbar in the 30th minute, the remainder of the first half was relatively stagnant.
But from the second half tap, everything changed. Immediately after Hiatt received the pass from midfield, she coughed up the ball. Eva Gordon pounced on the miscue, stealing the ball and dribbling into open space. With only the keeper to beat for the pursuing Orange, Bryant came out of the net to pressure Gordon. The junior forward adjusted and easily guided the ball past Bryant for her fifth goal of the season. Thirty-four seconds into the period and the game had returned to a “0-0” outlook.
Syracuse’s Sydney Brackett sped down the left side of the pitch in the 55th minute. As Allyson Swaby closed in, Brackett took her shot, aiming for the right side of the goal. Bryant dove, batting the ball away. Rebecca Pongetti located the rebound near the top of the 18. She wound up and launched a shot that soared over the goal. The score did not budge, and for most of the remaining portion of the game, Brosnan and the Orange defense would be the ones bracing themselves.
Olivia Vaughn led both teams with six shots on the night. Unfortunately for the Eagles, the freshman forward could not find the perfect touch in the box. On several occasions, Vaughn came just shy of giving BC its second goal. For instance, in the 81st minute, she doubled back inside the box, evading her defender, crept closer toward the right side of the net, and released a shot. Once again, Brosnan made the save.
The 90th minute was solely a testament to Brosnan, “one of the toughest goalies we saw all year,” according to Eagles head coach Alison Foley. Berman found Swaby on the right side of the field. Swaby turned to O’Brien, who directed a cross to Vaughn in the heart of the box. Vaughn, getting yet another chance, shot, but Brosnan reacted by making a brilliant kick-save. Berman instantly gathered the rebound and whirled a shot of her own—it was blocked. The crazy sequence concluded with a Swaby header sailing high over the goal.
BC outshot Syracuse 22-7 in regulation—a typical performance for the team that leads the ACC in shots taken. But, to this point, the stat was meaningless. It wouldn’t be until the 95th minute that the game-winner found the back of the net.
Berman passed out to Carreiro on the left side, who then crossed the ball to Vaughn inside the 18. Vaughn trailed toward the right, but cut back and let loose a line-drive shot that whizzed by Brosnan. With her fifth goal of the year, Vaughn, a freshman, sent the seniors home with a win.
Although the win will not do BC any favors in terms of its postseason desires, it serves as a building block. Vaughn, scoring in what would have most likely been Meehan’s place, is in a sense a passing of the torch. Even though the regular season may be over, the full potential of the Eagles’ youth is still to come. The matchup may not have been what was expected in September, but it won’t leave the seniors’ minds anytime soon.
“They’ll always remember that last regular-season game on their field as a win,” Foley said. “And I think that’s a great memory for them all.”
Featured Image by Amelie Trieu / Heights Editor