After a two-year lull, Boston College women’s soccer is going back to the NCAA Tournament.
The Eagles earned an at-large bid for the first time since 2015 on Monday afternoon, learning of their selection as a team alongside coaches and several administrators in a conference room in Conte Forum.
BC (14-4-1, 6-3-1 Atlantic Coast) was chosen as a No. 4 seed in the upper left corner of the bracket, one of 16 nationally seeded teams. The Eagles will be playing Hofstra (15-5-1), the automatic qualifier from the Colonial Athletic Association, in the first round. BC will host the Pride on Friday night at 7 p.m.
“We’ve been in this room a lot of years and the last couple of years we didn’t make it,” head coach Alison Foley said to her team after the show concluded. “This feels really, really good. I’m really excited that you’re the group bringing us back. The draw is exciting.”
It didn’t take long in the selection show for BC’s name to appear on the screen. The fourth first-round matchup to appear, the assembled Eagles cheered and took videos when they appeared. One of 10 ACC teams to make the field, BC found itself in the same region as Clemson, the team that unseated them in the conference tournament semifinals.
Should the Eagles win against Hofstra, they will play against either Memphis (17-3), who won the American Athletic Conference, or Wisconsin (12-3-4), an at-large bid from the Big Ten. A third round matchup with the nation’s best team and No. 1 overall seed Stanford—the defending national champion—could await.
“I feel guilty that I’ve taken it for granted in the past,” Foley said of earning a spot in the 64-team field. “It’s a really special moment. We’ve talked a lot about our body of work, and that there would be a reward at the end of the regular season—and here we are.”
It’s BC’s 19th tournament appearance, 15 of which have come in Foley’s tenure. It’s just the second selection in the past five years for the Eagles—a surprising number after a run of 11 consecutive trips from 2003 to 2013. The fourth seed earned this season, however, reflects the quality of play many saw during the 11-year run.
The 2018 team jumped out to a program-best start, winning its first 11 games before an overtime setback in Winston-Salem, N.C. BC went on to win six games in conference play, the most since 2013—a season that ended in the Elite Eight. Sam Coffey was named ACC Midfielder of the Year, the first such honor for a BC player in program history as well as the first Player of the Year nod at any position since 2006. The 14-win regular season campaign easily surpassed last year’s 10-win mark, one that left them on the outside looking in.
All of this pooled together to give the Eagles a clear sense that they would see their name on the screen on Monday afternoon. Losing in the first round of the ACC tournament was a setback, but there was never any doubt that a team that finished fourth in the deepest conference in the nation would make the field.
Now, seeking to avoid the first round exit they suffered at the hands of Princeton back in 2015—when
Alexis Bryant and Carly Leipzig were the only current players to appear—the Eagles will gear up for Friday night’s primetime matchup.
“I’ll take you guys anytime, anywhere, against anyone else in the country,” Foley said at the end of her speech to the team. “It starts at Hofstra. It starts tomorrow. Get it done.”
Featured Image by Bradley Smart / Heights Editor