With Loss to Duke, Eagles Eliminated From ACC Tournament

Entering the ACC Tournament, Boston College women’s soccer drew the No. 8 seed, guaranteeing a matchup against the No. 1 seeded Duke University. There was never any doubt as to how tough the game would be—the Blue Devils entered the contest riding a 17-game win streak and boasting a perfect conference record, while BC had dropped four of its previous six games. Sure enough, the Eagles struggled to contain the Blue Devils, especially in the first half, and failed to create enough dangerous chances to really pose much of a threat to Duke. In the end, Duke triumphed over BC, 3-1, knocking the Eagles out of the ACC Tournament.

The Blue Devils (18-1, 11-0 Atlantic Coast) took advantage of early opportunities to score quickly, knocking BC (10-9-1, 4-6-1) back onto its heels in the first half. Just about 13 minutes into the game, BC surrendered a corner kick to the Blue Devils. Ella Stevens lined up to knock the ball into the box. She placed the ball perfectly for teammate Chelsea Burns, who headed it past BC goalkeeper Alexis Bryant into the back of the net to open up scoring and give Duke a 1-0 lead.

After Duke’s first goal, both teams struggled to create offensive chances for a stretch of more than 10 minutes. BC head coach Alison Foley experimented with different combinations, substituting Emily Langendorfer in for Jillian Jennings, but the Eagles just couldn’t break through Duke’s defense. BC’s best chance came in the form of a shot from Olivia Vaughn that sailed high of the goal.

The Blue Devils, after a similarly unproductive stretch, broke through once again to double their lead in the 26th minute. Kayla McCoy found herself with the ball along the sideline and drove a low cross through to the middle of the box. Imani Dorsey didn’t need time to gather the ball in—she hit a one-timer off the cross past a diving Bryant and into the back of the net.

After Duke’s second goal, Foley continued to experiment with different players on the field, searching for the perfect combination to break through for BC. The Blue Devils continued to stifle every possible chance for the Eagles, however, preserving their two-goal lead.

Meanwhile, Duke took advantage of its own opportunities, testing Bryant and BC’s defense repeatedly. Dorsey ripped another shot off on Bryant, who managed to secure the ball for one of her two saves on the day. The Eagles handled a Duke corner well, clearing the ball out before the Blue Devils could create any offensive chances. Duke recorded another couple of shots, but one was blocked and one went wide.

Duke would not be denied forever, though, and the Blue Devils cushioned their lead with yet another goal in the final five minutes of the first half. This time, the roles reversed as Dorsey fed McCoy the ball at the top of the box. McCoy turned and bent a shot past BC defenders and Bryant, bringing Duke into halftime with a 3-0 lead.

McCoy’s goal was the last one Duke would earn against the Eagles, but a relatively stagnant second half for the Blue Devils didn’t change the outcome of the game. For most of the second half, Duke continued to deny BC’s chances. Duke’s goalie, EJ Proctor, recorded both of her two saves on the day in the second half.

Sam Coffey had a couple of shots and corner kicks, but nothing materialized from these opportunities early in the half. Her persistence ultimately paid off, though, as she was integral for BC’s only goal of the day. In the 75th minute of play, BC earned another corner kick. Coffey took it and sent the ball into the box, perfectly placed for Carly Leipzig to redirect the ball into the corner of the net. It was Leipzig’s fifth goal and Coffey’s 10th assist of the season.

Leipzig’s goal spoiled Proctor’s clean sheet, but Duke still held a two-goal lead, and BC could not break through for another goal. In the end, the Blue Devils earned the victory, advancing into the next round of the ACC Tournament and likely ending the Eagles’ season, barring an unexpected bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Featured Image by Jake Catania / Heights Staff

October 29, 2017