As the sun set over the packed stands in Newton Friday evening, Boston College field hockey honored its seniors and fifth-year players before the start of a much-anticipated top-25 matchup against No. 24 Duke.
In the midst of back-to-back heartbreaking losses, the No. 13 Eagles (10–5, 2–3 Atlantic Coast) were hungry for a win after being silenced by No. 11 St. Joseph’s and blowing a two goal lead against No. 4 Louisville.
The Eagles claimed the win they had been searching for with a 3–1 victory over the Blue Devils (5–10, 0–5).
“We are not trying to recreate anything—we know our identity,” BC head coach Kelly Doton said. “I told them to focus on consistency and basic skills, and they came out with the energy tonight to do exactly that.”
But with any big matchup, the Blue Devils did not make a win an easy task. Duke, searching for its first ACC win of the season, came out with intensity. Within the first three minutes of the game, Duke fiercely fought up the field and scored to take an early 1–0 lead.
The stunned BC crowd fell silent, and the goal sent a message that Duke, winless in conference play, was not going to hand BC an easy victory. The BC offense began to seize control of the ball and started testing Duke goalkeeper Piper Hampsch. With a handful of scoring opportunities, the Eagles still could not find the back of the cage, and as time ticked down in the first quarter, the Eagles trailed by one.
But, as the Eagles have learned, good things come to those who wait. The fans in the stands held their breath and watched as the time ticked down to 10 seconds, and BC took its final possession of the quarter. And as the Eagles came storming down the field, Jill Joossens fired off a shot with .6 seconds left on the clock, and the ball sailed past the Duke goalkeeper and hit the back of the cage. The horn blared, and the Eagles had tied it up at the end of the first with Joosens’ first collegiate goal.
In the second quarter, Duke dominated the penalty corners 7–3, testing the BC defense. Within the last few minutes of play before halftime, there seemed to be nonstop whistles awarding Duke with the ball. Doton credited her defensive penalty corner unit for keeping the team in the game and escaping into halftime with a tie game.
There was a newly lit fire in the Eagles eyes after the first half. Charging down the field with numerous scoring opportunities, Sarah Johnson delivered the Eagles’ second goal to claim the lead, shifting the momentum to BC’s sideline.
As each team picked up its offensive pressure, BC goalkeeper Jonna Kennedy found herself sprawling on the astroturf saving two consecutive shots as she helped keep her team in the lead. The crowd roared as BC defense continued to shut down any Duke scoring opportunities that arose.
The fourth-quarter grit began to be apparent as the physicality of the game intensified, and neither team let up on the pressure.
On an assist from Milagros Arteta, Nell Webber scored off a breakaway and extended the lead to two goals.
“It feels really good to get a win against a really good Duke team, and it is definitely the confidence boost we needed,” Doton said.
Featured Image by Caroline Cannon / For The Heights