Still looking for its first win of the season, Boston College women’s soccer fell to 0-4 after a down-to-the-wire home game against No. 5 Duke on Thursday night. Despite going back and forth throughout the majority of the match, each team going scoreless through regulation, the Blue Devils broke the dry spell with a goal in the 96th minute from Duke’s star defender Delaney Graham. It’s been a tough stretch for the Eagles, but the loss serves as a beacon of hope for improvement, even though it’s not reflected on the win column.
While matchups between BC and Duke historically favor Blue Devils, with the Eagles holding an all-time record of 4-11-3 against Duke prior to this game, Thursday’s match was nonetheless projected to come down to the wire—and it met expectations. Each team traded four unthreatening shots apiece in the first half, with sophomore star Sam Smith and junior Emily Knous both firing quickly during the opening six minutes of play.
The exhibition abruptly grew competitive with 17 fouls called through the first period, highlighted by three fouls and a yellow card called on BC senior Mia Karras. Sophomore Allie Augur registered two mighty saves in net for the Eagles, accompanied by the Blue Devils’ goalkeeper Ruthie Jones.
Even though they kept the game scoreless, BC lost all momentum in the second period. Duke began to control the ball fervently in Eagles territory, pounding 12 shots on net—in contrast, BC struggled to get past the Blue Devils’ defense to register a single shot against Jones. Augur continued to act as the defense’s saving grace, saving six shots and remaining perfect from the field through regulation.
Duke nearly scored multiple times but never hit the target, as Augur saved a crossbar kick from Sophie Jones at 60:10, followed by a goal by Marykate McGuire called offsides at 70:13. On the offensive side, BC was constantly swarmed by the Blue Devils as Duke even held Smith and Knous without a goal attempt.
Not much changed in overtime once Duke regained possession of the ball, keeping it out of reach of the Eagles and maintaining its dominance for the rest of the game. After failing on numerous occasions to connect in the first 90 minutes, Graham broke free for a wide open goal after her teammate swerved around BC’s defense and crossed it toward center field. With the addition of this loss against the Blue Devils, 13 out of the 19 all-time games between the two ACC competitors have been decided by one goal or less.
It was undoubtedly a heartbreaking loss, but there are areas of BC’s game to be commended. The Eagles were able to hold off some of the ACC’s mightiest attackers for 45 minutes and, if such momentum had been sustained throughout the entire match, a preferable outcome likely would have occurred. Augur was also exceptional, recording a season high .875 save percentage. Despite these small victories, it is essential that the team improve its consistency and active engagement on both sides of the field, as well as find ways to control the ball.
Featured Image Courtesy of BC Athletics