Thanks to Bryant’s Six Saves, Eagles Hold BU Scoreless

It was a big week of crosstown rivalries for Boston College women’s soccer. After tough matches against Northeastern and Harvard, respectively, the Eagles closed out their week with a matchup against their biggest rival: Boston University. BC jumped out to an early lead to edge past the Terriers with a 3-0 win.

To call the beginning of the first half physical would be an understatement. The Eagles’ first throw in was met by a near head collision between both teams. Immediately following, Sam Coffey almost kicked Julianna Chen in the head trying to block the ball, resulting in a foul called on the Eagles. Soon after, a strong kick by Madison Kenny from the blue line set up a nice shot for Olivia Vaughn, but she couldn’t connect for an early goal. The early shot started a trend, however, with the Eagles continuously keeping the ball on the Terriers’ side of the field.

When the Eagles put pressure on the Terriers, BU responded with surprising speed that led to some scoring opportunities. And when the shots didn’t go wide, Alexis Bryant was always there with the save, making sure the Terriers didn’t pull ahead. Lauren Berman had a second chance for the Eagles to get the first goal of the game when she sent a strong kick towards the goal, but the shot went straight into the arms of Amanda Fay.

The Eagles soon got a chance to show their skill in their corner kicks when Coffey set up a powerful shot. The kick went straight to Gianna Mitchell, who guided the ball into the back of the net to give the Eagles the first goal of the game. With an early lead the Eagles continued to bombard Fay with shots, but found it hard to get a second goal to increase their lead. In the last five minutes of the half, Riley Lochhead attempted to increase the BC lead but her shot was just barely wide, sending the Eagles into the half with a one-goal edge on the Terriers.

Heading into the second half, the Terriers were much more aggressive, determined to get on the scoreboard. In the first 10 minutes, Jenna Bike was given the opportunity for the perfect for a shot, having made her way past Fay to give her an open goal. Fay didn’t give up that easily, however, successfully tripping Bike before she could shoot. The action prompted a free kick taken by Berman, whose shot on the left side of the goal increased the Eagles’ lead to two.

BU came back heavy, managing to sneak past BC defenders to close in on Bryant. She narrowly saved the first shot the Terriers took, but the ball rolled out of her hands before she could secure it. BU took possession again and tried for a second time, but Bryant never took her eyes off the ball as she dove to catch the ball before it could sail into the back of the net. Minutes later, Anna Heilferty sprinted toward Bryant and took a sliding shot, but it connected directly with the redshirt junior for another save.

BC’s two-goal lead didn’t keep the team from continuing its conquest, as a pass from Berman to Carly Leipzig got through all of BU’s defenders. Leipzig didn’t waste any time with her shot, and a kick to the left side of the net easily slid past Fay to increase the Eagles’ lead by yet another goal. Bryant continued with her impressive saves as she jumped up to block a high shot made by Alivya Wimmer. In the second half, BC only had two shots on goal and connected on both, but the Terriers couldn’t solve the puzzle that was Bryant, heading back down Commonwealth Ave. without a single goal made.

With six impressive saves made throughout the game, Bryant could only credit her success to her teammates.

“We’ve just been putting the work in outside of games in practice,” Bryant said. “We’re going hard, my teammates are giving me a lot of repetition, really challenging me, so I was really prepared for today thanks to them.”

Featured Image by Jake Catania / Heights Staff

September 11, 2017