Eagles Fall to Duke in Shootout

There must be something in the water.

Some of Boston College field hockey’s games this season have been blowouts. Some have been close games. But an astounding five have gone into overtime. Three times, BC pulled out a victory in double overtime. Once, the Eagles fell to North Carolina during the first overtime frame. But now, for the first time this season, overtime wasn’t enough time to determine a winner.

No. 2 Duke University came to Newton this Parents’ Weekend, hoping to deny BC its first conference win of the season. The Eagles looked to earn another statement win against a highly ranked opponent. Neither team budged an inch, refusing to fall behind through two full halves of play and two overtime periods. In the end, the game went to a shootout—and the Eagles fell in a heartbreaking loss to the Blue Devils, 3-2.

‘We worked all week on creating more goal scoring opportunities and we did a great job of that today,” head coach Kelly Doton told bceagles.com. “Duke is a great team and it didn’t go our way tonight.”

Duke (8-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) earned the advantage from the very start of the game. After four minutes without a shot from either team, Alexa Mackintire fed the ball to teammate Rose Tynan. Tynan rocketed a shot past BC goalkeeper Sarah Dwyer for her seventh goal of the season and the first of the game.

Undaunted, the Eagles (7-4, 0-4) made several adjustments and began to fight for an equalizer. Caroline McGovern checked in for Fusine Govaert and immediately began to test Duke goalie Sammi Steele, but her first shot sailed wide of the goal.

For a considerable stretch of time, the Eagles maintained possession right by Duke’s goal. After McGovern’s missed shot, BC saw another chance with a penalty corner from Cassidy Atchison. Atchison found her teammate Frederique Haverhals, but her ensuing shot deflected off the post and wide of the goal. Next, Chelcie Mendonca saw an opportunity to score, but her shot was blocked.

Finally, after these frustrating missed opportunities, the Eagles found the back of the net. Atchison took another penalty corner, sweeping the ball in front of Duke’s goal. Ymke Rose Gote found Haverhals open, who slipped the ball to McGovern. This time, McGovern didn’t miss her shot. She beat Steele on the shot to equalize the score and give a breath of fresh life into the Eagles.

From there, the remainder of the first half remained deadlocked as each team fought to net a go-ahead goal. Steele and Dwyer each worked hard to keep their teams in it, denying good opportunities and maintaining the tie. But right before the end of the first half, Duke’s stroke of good luck broke the tie.

First, Alyssa Chillano fired a shot on Dwyer, who managed to block but not secure the shot. The rebound fell in front of Erin Scherrer, who wasted no time in sending the ball flying into the back of the net. When the half ended seconds later, Duke held a slim lead, but also held all of the positive momentum. The Blue Devils had outshot the Eagles 9-7 in the first half, including four shots on goal compared to BC’s two.

Unlike in the first frame, there was no quick goal to open the second half. While Duke did get a couple of shots off early, for the most part the teams struggled to find an effective attack. All of that changed after Alesandra Miller was subbed in for the Eagles. Miller beat Steele for BC’s second goal of the game, once again tying the score up and making it anyone’s game to win.

For the remainder of the second half, neither team managed to score again. Once again, Steele and Dwyer recorded saves to keep their teams in it. As the final seconds of regulation ticked away, it became clear that the game would be heading into overtime.

It seemed that BC might hold a slight advantage in overtime. After all, the Eagles had already fought through several overtime games on the season, and it was Duke’s first time playing an extra frame this season. But once again, BC failed to break through for a lead.

The Eagles did manage to equalize the shooting attempts throughout the overtime periods, and in the end would actually pull ahead and hold the advantage in that category by the time the game ended. But outshooting your opponent doesn’t guarantee a victory, and in this case BC’s efforts were futile.

At the conclusion of double overtime, the teams prepared for a shootout. Gote started the attempts off—but Steele saved her shot. Fortunately for the Eagles, Dwyer came up big with a save on Duke’s first shot, too, denying Ainsley Gill.

Brigid Wood then stepped up for BC. She attempted to send the ball past Steele, but Steele managed another save. Dwyer wasn’t as lucky during Duke’s next opportunity—Tynan passed her for the first successful shot of the shootout.

With the pressure on for BC, McGovern calmly sent her shot into the back of the net, briefly equalizing the shootout tally. Mackintire and Haverhals then traded goals, keeping things even for the final two shooters. Scherrer beat Dwyer to give Duke the advantage, and then Brooke Matherson missed to seal BC’s loss in heartbreaking fashion.

Featured Image by Sam Zhai / Heights Photo Contributor

September 30, 2017

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