Sports, Fall, Women's Soccer

Second-Half Surge Sends Eagles to 4-0 Win Over Miami

In each of Boston College women’s soccer’s first 10 games—including Thursday’s matchup against Miami—the Eagles have scored the first goal of the game. Recently, they haven’t always been able to build on that, whether it was a draw with Providence or a back-and-forth defeat to No. 6 Florida State. Against the Hurricanes, though, head coach Jason Lowe challenged his team at halftime to capitalize on the slim 1-0 lead they held despite having almost constant offensive pressure.

They didn’t disappoint. Olivia Vaughn scored a second-half brace and Sam Smith tacked on her eighth goal of the season, lifting the Eagles to a 4-0 win on a rainy weeknight in Newton. Playing for the first time in a week, BC (8-1-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) was well-rested and outpaced the visiting Hurricanes (3-4-1, 0-2).

“We’ve gotten the first goal of every game but we haven’t gotten the second and that’s what we talked about for the second half because in these ACC games, anything can happen,” Lowe said. “[And] it was really nice to have a week off. It gave us a couple of days to rest our legs and come back strong today.”

Despite heavy rain, the Eagles pressed forward right out of the gate and cracked their visitors almost immediately. Miami goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais slid into Jade Ruiters just a minute into the game, giving BC a penalty kick—and Dagenais a yellow card—and the Eagles didn’t squander the golden chance. Gaby Carreiro stepped up and promptly tucked it in the bottom right corner of the net. 

After Carriero’s initial goal, the Eagles had no problem moving into Hurricane territory.

BC found no shortage of chances in the opening minutes, but close shots by Ruiters and Smith just barely missed the cage. 

As the half continued, Miami became more aggressive and launched multiple shots at Allie Augur. The young goalkeeper was there to stop each kick that came her way, keeping the Eagles in the lead. It was clear the heavy rain was affecting both teams, as multiple players fell and slid all over the turf, causing a plethora of turnovers and bad passes.

Halfway through the opening frame, Eagles’ “super-sub” Gianna Mitchell came in for Carreiro, as BC looked to add to its lead and create a cushion. It looked like the Eagles were going to get what they were hoping for in the 30th minute, when Vaughn closed in on Dagenais after breaking away from two defenders. The freshman goalkeeper slipped on the turf, and Vaughn poked the ball past her for what looked like a goal, but just before it could cross the line and hand the Eagles their second scoring play of the evening, Miami’s Sierra Frey came from behind and managed to kick it away from the goal line.

Minutes later, Mitchell pushed forward on the attack, but the combination of the wet turf and multiple defenders saw her hit the ground before she could break away for a shot. As the period wrapped up, the Hurricanes took a pair of corner kicks in succession, but the Eagles easily cleared both, securing their lead as they headed into the break.

With the rain cleared by the time the clock started for the second half, BC carried its strong offensive presence over from the first frame. Lowe’s halftime speech apparently paid dividends, considering that, just over a minute into the period, Vaughn easily ran past her defenders and fired a shot from the far right corner. The ball sailed over Dagenais’ head and into the net, providing the Eagles a two-goal cushion.

BC kept pressing and added to its lead in the 57th minute. Vaughn picked up a pass from Carreiro right in front of Dagenais, and the wet turf proved too much. As the keeper fell to the ground, Vaughn poked a shot past her for her second two-goal effort of the season. 

Miami looked to get on the board after its third corner, but the Hurricanes still couldn’t beat Augur. The Eagles responded shortly after with a corner of their own, but they came up short as well. 

Then, Smith—who had been unusually quiet throughout the evening— finally saw some action in the 75th minute. After a corner, Michela Agresti’s initial attempt was blocked, but Ruiters was there and found Smith off the rebound. Smith’s ensuing header got by Dagenais and, suddenly, the Eagles had amassed four straight goals and an eventual shutout.

The shutout was the highlight for Lowe, as his team was fresh off of conceding a season-worst five goals to the Seminoles.

“We have to defend first in the ACC,” Lowe said. “We take a lot of pride in our defending and we have to hope for the best, but every ACC team can score goals. It’s really tough to get, so we take full pride when we get them.”

Now .500 in conference play, BC is approaching a pivotal point in its schedule. The Eagles welcome in No. 22 Louisville on Sunday, but the next three games after that are against unranked conference opponents—a rarity in the ACC. If BC wants to have momentum going into a brutally backloaded slate, it’ll need to carry over its strong second half against Miami into this weekend’s matchup.

Featured Image by Kayla Brandt / Heights Staff

September 27, 2019