The early part of the season for Boston College women’s soccer has been a long road. Despite being winless through the first five games of the season, BC has played better of late, putting in inspired performances against top-ranked teams such as No. 5 Duke and No. 1 North Carolina, and BC narrowly lost to Pitt in an offensive thriller. The Eagles’ hard work finally paid off on Thursday, as BC dominated Syracuse 3-1 to claim its first win of the season.
The victory was not only the first of the 2020 season for BC women’s soccer, but of any Eagles squad aside from BC football. Eagles’ volleyball is 0-6 on the year, while BC field hockey had a record of 0-1 before its recent games were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Jenna Bike was outstanding for the Eagles, notching five shots on net and one goal. She also won the penalty that set up BC’s third goal.
Despite BC’s total dominance of the final scoreline, Syracuse got on the board first with a goal in the ninth minute. Orange forward Hannah Pilley beat the Eagles’ defenders to the endline and played a ball on the ground to the box, where striker Meghan Root easily slotted the ball into the net.
It was all BC for the rest of the first half. The Eagles easily controlled possession in Syracuse’s final third and barraged the Orange goal with shots, racking up 12 in the first half.
BC’s relentless offensive assault finally paid dividends in the 25th minute. Zoie Allen played a one-two pass to get into the box, but she was brought down by a sliding tackle from defender Shannon Aviza, giving the Eagles a penalty. Bike took the kick and powered it high into the goal to tie the game at one apiece.
Allen’s ability to play quick passes and use slick skills to beat Orange defenders was the unifying factor behind many of BC’s chances in the first half.
While the Eagles easily mounted chances on the Orange goal, Syracuse struggled to muster any offensive pressure. Lacking the ability to build up from the back, Syracuse mainly tried to get up the field with long balls to its strikers, who largely lacked the speed and aerial ability to get on the end of the passes.
Laura Gouvin gave BC the lead in the 45th minute, cleanly slotting the ball into the bottom left of the goal after no Orange defenders closed on her as she cut through the box.
While the Eagles succeeded in the first half through slow, meticulous offensive buildup, they adopted a counter attacking style in the second half. Bike led the charge, utilizing her breakneck speed to easily beat the Orange defense down the wings and get one-on-ones with goalie Lysianne Proulx.
While Bike was unable to convert her first couple of opportunities, her breakaway in the 66th minute proved more fruitful. As Bike sped into the box, defender Jenna Tivnan tried to push her away from the ball, but her challenge was too strong and Bike came crashing to the ground, earning the Eagles another penalty. Sam Smith’s shot was weak and easily saved by Proulx, but Emily Knous got to the rebound and scored her first goal as an Eagle.
Featured Image by Kait Devir / For The Heights