Coming off a strong start to the regular season, in which Boston College women’s soccer went undefeated in non-conference play, its struggles against ACC competition continued on Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C. For the first time this season, the Eagles were held scoreless, falling to North Carolina State, 2-0.
N.C. State (6-4-2, 1-1-2 ACC) applied the pressure against BC goaltender Allie Augur early, rattling off three shots within the first five minutes and, despite two landing wide of the net, the precedent was set: The Wolfpack went on to rack up 19 shots in the game.
The Eagles retaliated almost immediately in the early going, challenging Jessica Berlin with two corner kicks from Jillian Jennings. Freshman Sam Smith received a beautiful feed from Olvia Vaughn, but was rejected by the N.C. State defense just seven minutes in. This foreshadowed the rest of the night for the Eagles (8-3-1, 1-3-0 ACC), who were only able to fire off five shots—and just one on goal—against the Wolfpack.
After this volley from the Eagles, however, N.C. State took control of the match. Its aggression and fast-paced offensive strategy left BC scrambling to defend its side of the field, but the Eagles could only hold on for so long. In the 36th minute, Kristina Schuster, nearly out-of-bounds after running down the right side of the box, sent back a pass to teammate Jameese Joseph who snuck the ball through the legs of Augur. As if to prove that they weren’t going to be satisfied with one goal, Joseph was able to rifle off another shot four minutes later, but missed high.
Although BC only allowed one first-half goal, the damage could have been much worse. In the closing five minutes of the period, the Eagles’ defense fended off three separate corner kicks from defender Lulu Guttenberger, along with two more shots from Toni Starova and Ricarda Walkling.
The second half of the game proved to be similar to the first. After Gaby Carreiro landed a shot on a goal, BC failed to record another attempt for 15 minutes, when Berlin caught Jade Ruiters’ corner kick and held the Eagles scoreless. In the meantime, on the other end of the field, the Wolfpack kept Augur on her toes. Accumulating two of her three saves between the 55th and 60th minute, the N.C. State offense refused to let up. The first and only yellow card of the night took place with 30 minutes remaining when Carreiro was flagged.
The intensity cooled down for the remainder of the half until N.C. State cracked the Eagles’ defense. With only four minutes left, Tziarra King secured her 10th goal of the season, sealing the win. She was set up by Paige Griffiths and Maxine Blackwood, as the three of them streaked toward the box, working right to left. By the time the ball ended up in possession of King, Augur was fully committed to the play, diving to her right in an attempt to keep the lead at one.
BC attempted to rally in the closing minutes, but like the previous 89 minutes of play, was unsuccessful in sneaking a shot past Berlin. With 27 seconds remaining, junior defender Gianna Mitchell did her best to keep the Eagles in the game. Approaching the net, she struck a solid shot on net, but put too much behind it—the attempt wound up above crossbar, and the score remained 2-0.
The Eagles trailed in every major statistical category except saves. N.C. State had almost four times the number of shots as BC, with six of its 19 shots coming on goal. On the other hand, the Eagles could only muster five total shots. Augur was kept busy throughout the match, and ended the night with four saves.
On Thursday, BC will travel to Pittsburgh to play another conference opponent. The Panthers are winless in ACC competition and have struggled this year, but the Eagles will have to stage a more cohesive offensive effort than it strung together in Raleigh if it wants to walk away with a win. Often, managing just five shots against any team won’t be enough for a win, no matter how well the defense can play.
Featured Image by Delaney Vorwick / For The Heights