Since picking up its pace of play at the turn of October, Boston College field hockey has impressed game in and game out. In what has quickly become a year of firsts, the Eagles only continued that trend on Thursday afternoon. For the first time since 2015, BC advanced to the ACC semifinals, putting its defensive prowess on display as the Sky Caron-led back line didn’t allow a single shot on goal in an eventual 2-0 victory over Wake Forest.
Prior to this season, BC (12-6, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) had not fared well in the ACC postseason as it had failed to advance past the quarterfinals in each of the last three seasons. The Eagles’ last win coincidentally came against the Demon Deacons (9-11, 0-6), ending Wake Forest’s past playoff dominance of BC—in fact, between 2005 and 2014, Wake Forest knocked out the Eagles five times.
The first quarter was rather quiet as neither team could get on the board. Both teams had stretches of strong play, but a lot of the time any promising offensive chances were met with sticks poking the ball away at the last minute. The Eagles outplayed the Demon Deacons on the stat sheet, registering two shots on goal, but both were saved by Wake Forest netminder Isla Bint.
The Eagles continued this pressure into the second quarter and were finally able to strike first blood in the final two minutes of regulation. Off a corner, midfielder Fusine Govaert had her attempt blocked, but she was able to retrieve the ball and make a great pass to freshman Darcy Clement, who fired a shot through traffic and past Bint for her first career goal. The Eagles took the one-goal lead into halftime while controlling play.
“At the end of the day, for a corner, you gotta get the ball on the cage and the best option is for Fu [Govaert],” head coach Kelly Doton said after. “Wake Forest did a really good job of running that down and the ball bounced right back to Fu.
“Instead of getting it back on the cage, she went the option with Darcy [Clement]. And Darcy was wide open and got her first goal. It was a smart decision by Fu [Govaert], but certainly we want to get that first shot on the cage.”
Wake Forest came out strong after the break, as it maintained possession for a large period of time in the beginning of the third quarter. The Eagles regrouped and then created a few chances of their own. Leading goalscorer Margo Carlin was denied twice by Bint, as the freshman looked for her 18th goal of the season.
For the fourth quarter, Doton moved Govaert back to play defense to keep the lead intact. BC survived an aggressive surge from the Demon Deacons after they pulled their goalie for an extra attacker with 2:55 to go.
In the final seconds of the game, Carlin sent a pass over to her fellow forward Jaime Natale, who was able to record the empty netter before the buzzer sounded off to give the Eagles the 2-0 win.
With the tournament being held here in Newton this year, home-field advantage will always be in the Eagles’ corner. The crowd was full of BC supporters, who cheered on their team from start to finish amid a hard-fought victory.
“I think if we keep getting those fans back in that cheering section, I think the girls really feed off it energy-wise,” Doton said. “We love playing on this field. We’re really fortunate to have it here.”
The second-seeded Eagles will look to ride their momentum and their home-field advantage into the semifinal round, where they will take on No. 4 Virginia—who they have already beaten this season—tomorrow afternoon in Newton at 3:30 p.m.
Featured Image by Hannah Terrile / For The Heights