After only recording one point during the first two games of the year, Boston College women’s soccer midfielder Sam Coffey racked up nine over the course of the next two matches, rocketing to the top of the team scoring chart. From that point forward, the sophomore never looked back.
The Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. native finished the regular season with nine multi-point performances, wrapping up the 19-game slate as the only Eagle to log 20 or more points, let alone eclipse the 30-point mark. Her breakthrough campaign didn’t go unnoticed: On Thursday afternoon, Coffey was named the ACC Midfielder of the Year and All-ACC First Teamer, becoming the fourth member of the program to win a conference player of the year award and the first since 2009.
Coffey’s 12 goals, 14 assists, and 38 total points were the most of any ACC player this season—and it wasn’t particularly close. No one else in the conference tallied more than 27 points. Not only that, but Coffey was also the only ACC player to post double-digit goals and assists this fall. As far as scoring is concerned, Duke’s Kayla McCoy and Clemson’s Mariana Speckmaier came the closest to dethroning Coffey with 10 goals apiece. In the assist department, Tigers defender Sam Staab and Blue Devils forward Ella Stevens closed out the top three with 11 and 10 assists, respectively.
BC coasted to a 10-0 start—its best in program history—largely because of its high level of defensive play. During that 10-match win streak, the Eagles only conceded four goals and, at one point, strung together six-consecutive shutouts. Alongside Gianna Mitchell, Elysa Virella, and Mijke Roelfsema, Kayla Duran rounded out the backline in stellar fashion, earning a spot on this year’s All-ACC Freshman Team, joining a class of five other Eagles to earn the same honor in the time since BC moved to the ACC in 2005. While the defense gave BC the edge, Coffey’s the primary reason why most of those games were never in doubt.
Always keeping her head up, the sophomore distributed the ball at will, often creating space for her teammates. At the same time, though, when head coach Alison Foley needed a goal, Coffey was her go-to weapon. All season, she assumed corner and free kick duties, fueling BC’s set-piece success—which accounted for a large percentage of the team’s scoring plays.
Coffey was just as effective, if not more so, against ACC opponents. Just 11 minutes into the conference opener against Syracuse, she set the stage for the Eagles’ first goal of the match with a corner kick that ultimately found the foot of Kayla Duran and, soon after, the back of the cage. Five minutes later, she was back at it again, teeing off another corner—one that led to a Kayla Jennings goal. The two-point simply foreshadowed what was to come.
Flash-forward two weeks later, and Coffey tabbed her first career hat trick against Virginia Tech, slotting three goals in the span of 57 minutes, two of which were unassisted. She replicated the six-point performance against Pittsburgh in just 23 minutes of action, scoring or assisting on the Eagles’ first four goals of what ended up being a seven-score blowout victory.
Coffey—a 2017 All-ACC Freshman—made a ginormous leap this season, just like her team, an Eagles group that’s on the brink of their first NCAA Tournament appearance in three years. The sophomore notched at least one point in 14 of BC’s 19 regular season matches.
It’s clear that Coffey has already made her mark. After all, her 38 points are tied for fourth most in single-season program history. What has yet to be seen, however, is whether or not she can help the Eagles make their way back to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2013 or—if all the stars align—their second-ever College Cup.
Featured Image by Jess Rivilis / For The Heights