With 15 minutes left to play in Boston College field hockey’s Friday night match against Virginia, it appeared as if the Eagles were on their way to another nailbiting finish. It only made sense—after all, each of BC’s previous six games had been decided by one goal. Yet, when it mattered most, head coach Kelly Doton’s multifaceted offense strung together, not one, but two scoring plays, securing a 2-0 shutout—a blanking that marked the Eagles’ first 2-0 start to ACC play in program history.
No. 9 BC (5-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) recorded its first shot within the first five minutes of regulation. The No. 10 Cavaliers (3-4, 1-1), on the other hand, couldn’t say the same. In fact, the Eagles held UVA without a single shot over the course of the opening 20-plus minutes of action. That’s not to say the Cavaliers didn’t have their fair share of opportunities in the BC half. As soon as the ball entered the Eagles’ zone, though, BC’s backs buckled down and flipped the field.
The offensive struggles were nothing new for a team like UVA that was outshot in both of its past two games—a pair of one-goal losses to No. 21 Old Dominion and No. 20 Liberty. Luckily for the Cavaliers, goalkeeper Carrera Lucas didn’t budge in the first period—or really the opening 58 minutes of the game, for that matter.
Ten minutes in, Fusine Govaert whipped a shot on net, but before it could even reach the cage it was blocked by a UVA back. The problem was, once the Cavaliers made a stop, they had a difficult time infiltrating the BC zone. In this case, Brigid Wood simply stole the ball back and reset the Eagles’ offense.
Still, BC ended the half with four shots, all of which were for naught. For the seventh time this season, the Eagles entered intermission tied with the opposition—this time, 0-0.
UVA notched the first of its two second-half corners in the opening minutes of the latter portion of play, but the potential scoring sequence unraveled before the ball could even reach BC goalkeeper Sarah Dwyer. It’s not like the Eagles were having any success on the penalty either. Their ensuing corner was blocked, as the stalemate between the top-10 teams extended deep into the second period.
Eventually, BC—specifically Elizabeth Warner—tipped the scale. With about 11 minutes remaining in regulation, Eva Van de Mierop intercepted a Cavaliers pass and pushed the ball upfield. The freshman back shoveled it forward to Warner, who was positioned along the 25-yard line. Without hesitation, Warner hooked a pass to Caroline McGovern. Located on the right side of the circle, the sophomore dished the ball off to Brooke Matherson, who promptly delivered a pass in front of the cage for a charging Warner. The sophomore forward made the most of the opportunity, deflecting the ball past Lucas for her third goal of the season.
Close to the four-minute mark, UVA pulled its goalkeeper, but the extra attacker didn’t help—if anything, it backfired. Following another Cavaliers turnover, Matherson scored an empty-net goal. With numbers, Fusine Govaert sent a pass to a wide-open Matherson, who then flung the ball past the outstretched stick of UVA back Colleen Norair.
The graduate student celebrated her fourth goal of the year—tied for the most on the team—with her teammates, knowing that her multi-point performance locked up the Eagles’ second-consecutive ACC victory.
Head coach Kelly Doton’s team has turned the corner. After a rough ACC/Big Ten Cup, BC has bounced back to win four of its next five games—and the one defeat came on the road, courtesy of a last-second Louisville corner. What’s even more impressive is that the Eagles have only given up more than one goal once during that span. BC’s balanced offensive attack is getting the job done, and it sure doesn’t hurt to have someone like Dwyer in net that has already logged three shutouts on the year. What initially looked like a typical Eagles campaign might actually be something quite special.
Featured Image by Andy Backstrom / Heights Editor