Just over eight minutes into the second overtime period, Boston College field hockey forward Elizabeth Warner received a pass in the circle and began to dribble along the goal line, looking for an opening in the net of Syracuse goaltender Emily Streib. A goal from Warner seemed next to impossible, as Syracuse’s defense had collapsed into the crease, and Streib was holding tight to her post. Warner, however, snuck a low-angle shot past the armada of Syracuse players, securing a hard-fought 2-1 win for BC.
The No. 13 Eagles (7-5, 2-4 Atlantic Coast) came into a key ACC matchup against No. 8 Syracuse (8-6, 4-4) as the underdogs, and they embodied that moniker throughout the game. Despite BC finding the net first, Syracuse outplayed the Eagles, which both the play on the field and the stat sheet reflected.
“It was a tough battle from the start,” BC head coach Kelly Doton said following the game in an email to The Heights.
Syracuse got off to a hot start and tested goaltender Jonna Kennedy early in the contest, but offensive powerhouse Margo Carlin put the Eagles ahead with a late first-period tally. She collected a pass from Warner and made a nifty move to beat a sprawling Streib. Syracuse nearly netted the equalizer just two minutes later, but a booming shot on a penalty corner opportunity went just wide of Kennedy’s net.
The Eagles’ defensive zone clearance was their achilles heel throughout the game, and they struggled against Syracuse’s intense on-ball pressure. BC committed turnover after turnover and relied heavily on Kennedy to make eye-popping saves to keep them in the game.
“Our defense in front of Jonna [Kennedy] did not make it easy for her today,” Doton said.
To say that Kennedy’s performance was dominant in Saturday’s matchup would be an understatement. The junior goaltender recorded a whopping 21 saves, including eight in the fourth quarter.
“She’s one of the best goalkeepers in the country and single handedly kept us in that game,” Doton said. “She’s remarkable at some of the stuff she can do in the net.”
After holding a tenuous one-goal lead for nearly 20 minutes of play, BC’s luck ran out in the third quarter. Syracuse’s Charlotte de Vries swatted home a second-chance opportunity off a penalty corner, and the shot found the net just out of Kennedy’s reach.
Syracuse’s lockdown defensive unit also prevented the Eagles from generating any kind of sustained offensive pressure. BC earned seven shots, of which only two were on net. Those two were, of course, the goals scored by Carlin and Warner. Syracuse, on the other hand, amassed 17 corners on the afternoon and unleashed an offensive barrage on Kennedy and her defensive corps, recording 38 shots.
But in the end, a win is a win. Though the Eagles did not perform to their usual standards in the double-overtime victory, Doton said she was pleased with the outcome of the game.
“Everyone battled,” she said. “At the end of the day it’s a great win.”
Featured Image by Nicole Vagra / Heights Staff