It’s not a stretch to say that, since the turn of the century, Boston College field hockey has dominated Providence. In 18 meetings since then, the Eagles had gone 16-2 and hadn’t lost to the Friars since the 2008 season. In the 2019 season opener for both teams, BC ensured that the lopsided nature of the rivalry continued, coming from behind to beat Providence, 2-1.
The game started slowly for the No. 13 Eagles (1-0), with the Friars (0-1) on the offensive from the start. In the opening moments, Providence won two penalty corners. BC’s defense was able to scramble the first one clear, but the second resulted in the Friars breaking the scoreless tie. Amanda Collins’ initial shot off the insertion was blocked, but the ball was held in, leading to a scrum in front of the cage that Olivia Ward was able to take advantage of. The junior, who missed all of the 2018 season due to injury issues, poked the ball home past Eagles goaltender Jonna Kennedy to give Providence the advantage just nine minutes into the game.
The Friars missed two opportunities to double their lead. First, Allyson Parker sent a shot wide, and then the BC defense blocked a shot from Mary O’Reilly just before the period expired, but Providence still ended the first quarter with a 3-0 advantage in shots and a 1-0 edge on the scoreboard.
Those lost chances came back to haunt the Friars, and quickly too. Just under five minutes into the second quarter, BC won its first penalty corner of the afternoon and made it count. Elizabeth Warner started the play from the goal line, rolling the ball to the top of the circle for Charlotte Von Huelsen, a freshman from Muelheim an Der Ruhr, Germany. Von Huelsen laid the ball off for Fusine Govaert, a junior who notched five scores in 2018. The sophomore unleashed a low shot that snuck inside the left post for the Eagles’ first goal of the season, tying the game at one.
Govaert nearly scored again on a similar play six minutes later, but Providence netminder Lydia Rice made one of her five saves to deny BC a go-ahead goal. Kennedy, Rice’s opposite in goal, also came up big just before halftime, making two saves in a row on Collins off a Friars penalty corner. The teams went into the break tied, and it wasn’t until early in the fourth quarter that the Eagles finally broke the deadlock.
With just 11 minutes played, Govaert won possession of the ball just outside BC’s offensive third and pushed toward the goal. After knifing through two defenders, she played a perfect ball to Margo Carlin, who was alone in front of the net. The freshman, in her collegiate debut, looked composed after receiving the ball, rolling it into the bottom left corner past Rice to complete the Eagles’ comeback.
Providence would have just one more big chance, as it won its fifth and final penalty corner with three minutes left to play. Collins took it, but the resulting shot from Corinne Kenney was stopped by onrushing BC defenders, and the Eagles were able to run out the clock and escape with the win.
After beating the Friars, BC has now won its season opener each of the past 12 years. The Eagles certainly lost a lot of talent after 2018, as Brooke Matherson, Frederique Haverhals, and Lucy Lytle—the team’s top-three scorers last season—all graduated. So seeing Govaert, the leading returning scorer, as well as a freshman in Carlin on the scoresheet has to give BC head coach Kelly Doton some more confidence moving forward. With bigger tests on the horizon, the Eagles will certainly need a consistent offense.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor