Sports, Fall, Field Hockey

Eagles Win Third Straight, Blank No. 13 Harvard

Last year, Boston College field hockey lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Harvard. It was an especially tough setback as the Eagles dropped their third straight game, all one-goal defeats, before they went on to split their next two games and finish the year just a game over .500.

On Thursday night, though, BC flipped the script. Brigid Wood scored in the second minute, and the No. 17 Eagles and goaltender Sarah Dwyer posted their third shutout in a row, beating the No. 13 Crimson, 1-0. 

Since losing to St. Joseph’s in overtime—a game in which the defense broke down repeatedly to the tune of five goals allowed—BC (7-5, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) has been nothing short of dominant. That loss marked the end of Jonna Kennedy’s tenure as the Eagles’ starting goalie, and it’s been a particularly fruitful decision from Kelly Doton to move on.

Kennedy’s replacement, Dwyer, regained her job against No. 8 Virginia and immediately registered a three-save shutout. She followed that up by turning away six shots against Quinnipiac and extended that scoreless streak against the Crimson (7-3). 

Harvard entered having just climbed six spots in the national rankings, thanks to a six-game winning streak. The Crimson additionally had scored 13 goals in its last three games and boasted the 19th-best scoring offense in the country. That, and the fact that Harvard was playing on its home field, still wasn’t enough to overcome Dwyer and BC. 

The Eagles were opportunistic out of the gate, winning a penalty corner at the 1:19 mark. In a well-designed set play, Margo Carlin delivered the ball to Charlotte Von Huelson at the top of the circle. She laid it to her teammate Sky Caron next to her, who sent a pass to an open Fusine Govaert. Govaert, who scored the game-winner against the Cavaliers, rifled a low pass into a crowd of sticks, and Wood deftly stuck her stick in with her left hand, tipping the ball up and over Harvard keeper Ellie Shahbo. 

That would be it for the scoring, and the rest of the game was a gritty defensive battle. The biggest chance for Harvard came in the second quarter—it didn’t manage a shot in the first 15 minutes—and it was a sequence of shots. All three of Dwyers’ saves on the game came in the span of a few seconds. First, Harvard’s Bente van Vlijmen fired a shot from the top of the circle that Dwyer had to lunge to deflect. Then, Crimson midfielder Rachel Greenwood pounced on the ball and sent back-to-back shots from point-blank range that Dwyer was able to turn away.

Other than that, Harvard rarely managed to put anything close on net. It took six shots total, and those three were the only ones that threatened Dwyer. The same could be said on the other side of the field, too, as BC was largely locked down offensively. Harvard’s Shahbo played well in cage, too, coming up with four saves but the deflected goal was enough to hand her team the loss.

It was a big win for Doton’s side, which has won three straight games, and two of those were against top-15 teams. The Eagles are surging at the right time, especially going into the back half of a schedule where they could feasibly extend this winning streak to as long as six—they play weaker sides in Boston University and New Hampshire with a big conference matchup against No. 14 Syracuse in the middle. Regardless, the results are coming in for BC, which is pivotal after the team sustained losing streaks of three and two games earlier this season.

Featured Image by Jonathan Ye / Heights Editor

October 11, 2019